Meeting report

29 May 2017

John Hicks

Hats off to retiring president Adrienne Malis, who opened the evening with our AGM. She made it brief and painless – over in less than 15 minutes – and all posts for the next year filled with a minimum of fuss.

Retiring S@A, David Preston then introduced our Toastmaster for the evening: the far from retiring Buck Buchanan. Buck shocked us into life with an extended version of braw bricht- style Scottish observations? wishes? imprecations? Whatever … With the smile on his face and laughter in his voice, we eagerly embraced them.

As S@A David had drily predicted in his introduction, he was going to give the only speech. This turned out to be an illustrated talk of his travels “From Rome to Venice”. By popular assent he extended his slide show from the seven minutes allotted on the agenda, to occupy a full twenty-two minutes. All your grumpy wrestling with our data projector is forgiven, David! His evaluator, Emma Garlick summed it up well. She is going to buy her ticket to Italy tomorrow!

From the sublime architecture and culinary delights of Italy our Bard, Nicola Powell, transported us to the far less salubrious environment of George Orwell’s Animal Farm where, as Stephen East later reminded us: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”.

Stephen drew this diversion into his table topic. As TTM, your reporter decided to remind his audience of the fabulous television shows they were missing by attending Toastmasters. It was a simple request really. All I required was for the table topicees to explain their part in acting, directing, writing the script of, etc. some of the programmes I had found in The Listener for that evening. Stephen, exerting his inventive imagination for Bride and Prejudice: The forbidden Weddings, eventually managed to steer away from Orwellian equality into some fantasy world that lasted well beyond the requisite one minute thirty. Lloyd Bathurst (Eggheads), unsurprisingly to those of us who know him, launched into a blistering rant about modern TV programming. Helen Peate relished – tastefully, but not too innocently - Four in a Bed, which recalled to her some of her youthful adventures in Italy. Simon Mortimer obviously knew nothing about Catch me Daddy, but his version was probably a lot more entertaining and imaginative than the real show. Unfortunately we had no time for The Adam and Eve Show (alas, there is only one Helen Peate in our club), or Would I lie to you?. Of course you would.

Table Topics were followed by a lively and useful General Evaluation by Carolyn Skerrett.

Conclusion? There is only rubbish on TV on Monday nights. You are far better off attending Shoreline Toastmasters.