President’s Night
12th December 2006

A ‘Bird’s Eye View’
Reported by Vivien

This year’s exceptionally well-attended Christmas party was on 12th December at The Order of the Magi’s headquarters at the Irish World Heritage Centre (IWHC), where President, Barry Horridge, did us proud.

It was a truly fun-packed evening, with a pub-like atmosphere, including no less than 2 bingo sessions run by Barry himself, aided and abetted by his wife Shelley and daughter Annabella, a quiz (for which a bucketful of useless information was required !), run by PRO officer Geoff Newton and a large raffle.

Substantial quantities of delicious food were provided by the IWHC’s own kitchen. There was, initially, some confusion in this regard. I do remember someone talking about a hot-pot supper and, indeed, I saw a number of plates of steaming hot-pot, but by the time I had made my way to the buffet table, the trays of hot pot had transmogrified into platters of freshly cooked sausages and chips I don’t believe for one single moment that the IWHC kitchen had actually run out of food. They had clearly learned magic from the many years’ of close communication with the Magi and had simply waved a magic wand, to effect the change!

Never a dull moment, there was a full programme of entertainment, starting with Tom Jones (alias Ian Anthony), gyrating round the stage in his tight leather trousers and even tighter curls, whilst (not unusually!) loudly and huskily belting out a number of the familiar songs. Everyone, particularly the women, joined in with enthusiasm. His finale was, of course, the ubiquitous “Delilah ” and we raised the roof. I admit to having been a Tom Jones fan in my, somewhat distant, star-struck past. Perhaps it’s just as well that my knicker throwing days are over!

Ian Anthony is Tom Jones
Tom Jones impersonator Ian Anthony in action.

To follow was Venn Tracey’s hilarious concoction of northern pub-type humour, lightly spiced with his own sound effects and some inoffensive vulgarity, plus a gentle seasoning of religious irreverence, mostly targeting various North Western towns. As inevitable, Venn was heckled by one over boisterous group of guests, which he adroitly handled with skillful parries. However, I do feel that guests at a party should be more considerate to others, probably the majority, who may not find such puerile interruptions particularly amusing.

Barrie and Venn Tracey
President Barrie Horridge shares a joke with Venn Tracey.

Finally Mike Sharples, the Magi’s Secretary, together with his daughter Rebecca, took to the stage. Initially Mike “sent up” all magicians by making his own fingers appear, disappear and multiply, followed by a routine to vanish an audio system, which, having failed to vanish, crashed in pieces on the floor.(Later, Rebecca protested that her audio system was missing!) Subsequently, Mike produced a head chopper, explaining that he’d borrowed it. He couldn’t quite remember what the owner had said about the safety catch, but he initially tried it out on a cabbage, which was cut cleanly in half. Presumably satisfied, Mike then enlisted the help of one of the IWHC’s staff who, after a bucket had been produced, obediently knelt in front of the equipment, allowed her neck to be placed under the guillotine blade, with a tasty stick of celery on either side, dropped the blade and the celery sticks were cut cleanly; the girl emerged unharmed. Then Rebecca, elegantly clad in black, stepped into a tall cupboard on castors. Mike chained her in by her wrists, closed the door on her and proceeded to push long metallic poles right through the cupboard, seemingly through Rebecca. Eventually, when Rebecca emerged unharmed, she was, amazingly, re-dressed in a beautiful white frock.

Mike Sharples
Magic and mayhem with Mike Sharples.

The evening reached the only possible conclusion with the appearance of Father Christmas, accompanied by an exquisitely winged Fairy Bella. They distributed trays of gifts to all the guests. The only person who didn’t receive a gift was Geoff Newton, who had, by then, inexplicably gone missing!

Santa with his helper Fairy Bella, Barrie’s daughter Annabella
and 2, not so little, boys who said they had been good all year.

The evening was a fantastic Christmas party, thoroughly enjoyed by all. Our thanks to Ian Ball, the “Sound Guru”, and Peter Moran for the stage lighting.

Most of all thank you, President, Barry Horridge for such a marvelous evening.

(Thanks for the report Vivien. Webmaster.)