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The Talk that went Wrong

We have all had terrible gigs in our time.  And of course it is not just magicians who face such horrors.  Here is a friend of mine describing a talk she recently co-presented, all in her own words.

Tom JonesWhen we arrived to set up, a group of about 30 very elderly people were sitting around eating lunch.  A smell of school dinner cooked vegetables pervaded the large, echoey hall and soon stuck to our clothes and hair.

The booker was nowhere to be seen; instead we were greeted by a loudly spoken Polish carer who buoyantly asked if we'd brought microphones; we hadn't, so she warned us we would need to shout.

Tom Jones Greatest Hits was trying to make itself heard on a small, inadequate portable CD player.  We had to move it to set up our equipment and the CD stopped abruptly and we had trouble getting it to work again.

footballLunch was cleared away and we were invited to start.  One of the bus drivers then appeared and began asking in a loud voice, who would like to go and watch the first half of the football in the pub across the road.  Several people stirred.  "It's Wales England, come on, we can be back in half an hour".  A handful of elderly gents shuffled off with him.  I looked at my colleague; I could tell he wasn't best pleased. 

asleepSo I began telling my stories and giving some background but within seconds, at least four people were asleep.  One of the kitchen staff then emerged and began walking amongst the group, saying goodbye and having chats with various people.  It was like we had suddenly become invisible.  I carried on regardless even though some of the sleepers now resembled corpses, their mouths wide and heads back.

After a while, a couple of elderly Indian ladies shuffled off.  Then a group of kitchen staff sat at the back and began having a private conversation in loud voices.  My colleague fast forwarded the video, no-one was really listening, no-one would notice.  We finished 15 minutes early and invited questions.  Blank faces greeted us (those that remained awake).  We packed up, put Tom Jones back on and left. 

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