Meeting report

07 August 2017

John Hicks

If there were any climate change deniers left in the room after David Preston’s speech, they kept it to themselves. This was one of the best “Persuade with Power” contributions I have heard: spoken with conviction and backed up with an impressive array of statistics. David used the power of analogy very effectively. Only three percent of scientists deny anthropogenic global warming: If your doctor advised you that your mole was potentially malignant and should be removed, would you chase down a further 97 doctors until you found one who told you not to worry, and follow his/her advice? David should post his speech to the Whitehouse!

Stephen East, our second speaker, had the task of presenting an award (Specialty Speeches Manual), which he did with aplomb and commendable gravitas.

Stephen’s second contribution, by contrast, was in response to one of the enigmatic newspaper clippings he chose from TTM Helen Peate’s table: “Beyond the Call of Duty”. Stephen initially appeared to bail out, stating that his presence up front was beyond the call of duty … thinking time … But you could see his mind unfolding and, very slowly, he recalled his army experiences and the “horrific things I don’t want to have to repeat”. Inevitably, he gave voice to them; “them” being baked beans and mashed potatoes. Stephen’s brilliant trip down (fake) memory lane ended climactically: “I’ve served my country and eaten all that rubbish food and I’m still here to tell the tale”!

Helen’s Table Topics drew out several other entertaining responses. I’m not sure that Nicola Powell entirely nailed “Get the Look”, but as she observed: “there is some weird stuff going on”. David Preston was “burned out by thirty”, Michael Shand’s “Great Scot” was Scot of the Antarctic and then there was Adrienne Malis “Fighting Crime”. Adrienne lived in Cincinnati where she was a policewoman for twenty years or more. Cincinnati is on a direct route from Mexico to the Canadian border and a notorious drug running corridor … and there was a drug ring involving 250 people … most of whom she arrested.  Well you can guess the rest ... she had no choice but to emigrate.

Thanks Helen, your Table Topics brought out some brilliant performances, but I won’t trust some of my fellow toasties ever again!