Elkfest '98


Hello everybody, the Lodge Porter reporting again. That’s interesting, isn’t it - porter is an anagram of report. Appropriate I’d say. Anyway, I’m digressing already which is a bad sign. So to the point. Elkfest 98. Another storming event, well up (or down) to the usual standard. Grand Master Billimott was nowhere to be seen, which given his ever increasing size is quite remarkable (David Coleman impersonation when reading the last two words before these in brackets, please). Rumour has it that he was hiding behind the hedge which was not involved in the cabaret this year, and that leads me on nicely to .... the cabaret, obviously.

This year’s elkfest woolly warmers were not only reduced in number (see comments later), but, talking of later, which I just did whilst hiding in my brackets, whereas this is in commas, were also late in starting, due to congestion in the car park, kick-off being delayed until nearly 9.00pm. However, this tardiness (no relation to previous Elkfests and Tardises) did not affect the quality of the performances.

First up, off or on, depending on your direction, was a variant of a previous cabaret act performed by the Mitchells of Lawford Lodge. This time it came from the Widdington Lodge expertly enacted by Paul and Mary. Entitled "A little grey magic", with the promise that it would be the most dangerous act ever performed at an Elkfest, the audience were gripped from the start. In brief, a playing card was selected by Mary from a brand newish pack , sealed in an envelope and forced to spontaneously combust (the envelope and card, not Mary). Using all her skills Mary was able to project the card to another envelope microseconds before it burst into flames and much to the surprise of the audience the card was found intact in an envelope which had been deposited with polly the parrot earlier. Unbeknown to the audience, Mary, Paul and the rest of the crew of Babylon 5, later examination of the pack revealed no missing card, so one has to upgrade the title of the act to "A lot of black magic".


Next on, after a quick change of costume for Paul, were the numerically challenged Three Goatees. Numerically challenged because there were four of them. This double duo of talentless, sorry, talented entertainers provided much merriment with a re-enactment of the (Alec) Guinness advert. It’s just a shame that they didn’t have a bit more rehearsal time as their timing seemed in need of some adjustment by the local garage. Still, at least after the punchline "Now there’s a drink that takes a long time to pour", someone got the benefit of consuming the prop.


The Three Goatees take a break from strenuous rehearsals

Act three, and enter stage left or right depending on which way you were facing at the time, the most amazing dance routine you have ever seen. Aluminium foil (or for our friends from the US of A, aluminum foil) was flying everywhere as Carol and Angie bopped, bipped, bapped and burped to the sounds of ABBA emanating through the ether (or kitchen). The only hitch in a flawless performance was a technical one delaying the start (just how do you get your boots on when they are sealed with aluminium (aluminum) foil)? Even this did not detract from the laugh a second performance (well Carol and Angie were laughing every second), with our Master of the Clipboard, Paul Mitchell filling in with tales (tails) of a dog.

The next act saw Dr. Philip Bailey produce a logical red briefcase and expound his theory of monetary policies over the years. Despite some heckling from the back (the only place to heckle from), the good doctor keep going .... and going ..... and going ..... until finally announcing 2p on a pint of beer and 10p on a packet of fags. Where would Elkfest be without a little education ......

To round off this year’s cabaret, there was a welcome return to Phil and Hayden who, with last year’s Juicy Lucy, made a really big splash (if you can do that with ice cubes). Rumours were rife that microwaves and tapes were involved, but the main thrust of the act was to turn the focus on the audience. Everyone was involved, some maybe a bit too much (Rob nearly had to be restrained with his own handcuffs .... and I’m still not sure if handcuffs are legal at Elkfests), with two teams battling it out to recognise various theme tunes and be the first to don the policeman's helmet (and there’s another strange link to handcuffs). Various prizes were awarded, although I think I’d rather have kept the points). By the way, there was a microwave involved, which was used to heat up one of the prizes. Enough said.

And so yet another Elkfest cabaret drew to a close. But before you could pull another pint it was time for the now infamous Crimson Shadow to take to the stage (garden) and entertain us with another interesting selection of songs. The line-up of the band had changed from the previous year (as with all good bands), with two members being sacked for gross misconduct, the result of which, was the youngest participant (Elly) at an Elkfest. Replacements were hard to come by, but much scraping around in barrels resulted in Phil on backing vocals and Roland on drum machine joining the ever present Carol (vocals), Dave (guitar and twiddly knobs) and Paul (bass).The set opened up with a Del Amitri number, When You Were Young. Not much of a Scottish accent by Carol, but a good song nevertheless, totally lost on Paul ,of course, who couldn't remember the last note let alone when he was young. Del Amitri songs seem to be appearing on a regular basis at Elkfests so next year we'll put a stop to it.



Crimson Shadow complete with laser display

Half of Crimson Shadow minus laser display

Next was the usual attempt to educate us in the strange and mysterious music of King Crimson, and this year’s piece of education was Matte Kudasai, a tricky little number, but nicely tucked away, with Phil sensibly denying all knowledge of this one. The third song brought back an all-time favourite (of Paul’s) with Walking on the Moon (otherwise know by Paul as dah dah dah, dah dah dah) by the Police (more references to handcuffs). Nice dah dah dahing. Now the band were well tuned up and ready to doze off, but were interrupted by one of the highlights of the set, Midnight Blues. Cool - especially as it was about 10.30pm by now. A quick dash through the Eagles' Long Train Running was followed by the last number (except the inevitable encore) which was a surprise to everyone, the band included. A superb display by Carol and Phil singing "WE DON'T GET ALONG SOCIALLY" which was originally a song called Socially by that really well known band the Sinceros (really well known by at least 4 people). And so to the encore - yes once more Mustang Sally was out riding around, wiping those weeping eyes. I think the version this year missed James' delicate vamping. Maybe next year.

Yet another short interlude and a cast of thousands took to the stage for a wonderful performance of that well known radio play, Star Trek - The Mixed Generation. Amongst the cast, merit awards should go to a superb Australian Dater and a touching Doctor McCoy impersonating Julian Clary. Also the most realistic Minnie Mouse voice of Captain Janeway must be singled out and destroyed on some far off planet. The audience provided some class sound effects as usual, especially Mary with a fine long zip, Mike with a tea strainer and Rob/Erica destroying a microphone with a can of beer (the bill, sorry another reference to handcuffs, is in the post).



Anyone know what happens in scene 7?


As always Samantha controlled the electronic scene number board using parts of her body not intended for such things, and I'm sure I heard the soft, gentle, tones of IAN PAISLEY somewhere in the play. We were not BORED!






And here are the later comments (see earlier comments):

Just to remind those of you who did not attend this year's Elkfest, it is a condition of lodge membership that you must attend at least one Elkfest every two years. Those of you who do not, could face heavy fines and compulsory clipping of antlers :-)

See you at Elkfest '99

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