Maidenhead Speakers Club – Monday 23 September 2014
WITH GUEST BLOGGER, STEVE
St Luke’s Community Hall last night was the stage for the 2014 MSC Club Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contest, & a fun-filled evening was had by all!
Paul made an excellent debut as Contest Chair, instantly gaining some laughs from the audience by telling us he had planned to turn up in a nice suit… but the one he was wearing would have to suffice instead! But, modest as ever, it has to be said that Paul was very smartly turned-out & did a very professional job. He had further fun with the audience when he produced a letter of rejection from the Red Arrows regarding the idea he’d pitched to them of a proposed ‘fly-through’ to be staged tonight at St Luke’s Hall – they politely informed him is wasn’t really the right ‘gig’ for them…!
Following a lively warm-up session (where each audience member took turns to explain what they hoped their best character traits might be) we were straight into the Humorous Speech Contest. Mohammad was up first with his speech ‘World Peace’, explaining his plans for a peaceful & more harmonious world with no more wars, & everyone speaking English – although he wasn’t sure the French would be particularly impressed with this proposal! Oh yes – he’d rule the world too as our leader, but only want 50% of our income in taxes. Sounds fair enough Mohammad!! Next up was Richard with his speech entitled ‘The Holiday’. But this was no ordinary holiday… Richard told the unlikely story of eccentric character Walter, a man with an Anne Robinson obsession who travels with his wife to seek some sun abroad – leaving the house in his pyjamas & his suitcase full of pork scratchings & ginger beer! After a relaxing dip in the hotel swimming pool, he manages to scare off the dreaded Time Share sales people (by asking them too many questions) before heading home to buy a bargain-priced two-for-the-price-of-one heart transplant in Thailand off the Internet for he & his wife – even though their tickers are fine! Wonderfully silly stuff. Final Contest speaker was Lorraine with her speech ‘Global Citizen’. She humorously addressed the problem of today’s ‘global society’ & the many pitfalls it presents. Lorraine mused over the age-old problem of us Brits not wanting to learn foreign languages, & how our European counterparts seem to amaze us with their multi-lingual skills. She told us she has tried to learn French, but a food order at a restaurant in Paris didn’t go quite according to plan when she tried to put her French linguistics into practise…
Lorraine scooped the award for Best Humorous Speech.
Following the break, it was time for the Table Topics Contest. Contest Chair Paul posed the question to each contestant: “Nietzsche said: ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Can you remember a time when you pushed yourself to your limits, & did it indeed make you stronger?”
Mohammad was back as the first speaker, & told us all about his crazy sense of humour, & how he does things he feels most people just wouldn’t do. He also told us of his failed attempts to impress women too with his handbrake turns… now, who wouldn’t be impressed?!
Tony was next, recalling the second TMs speech he ever did. His first speech had gone very well, but with his second speech he froze – standing on stage in silence for a full (& very long I’m sure) 3 & a half minutes as he tried to remember his words & compose himself. But he recovered, & came away stronger & more determined than ever,
Steve was our third speaker. He spoke about his time as an athlete at school, trying to emulate the pace-setters, & how this inspired him to do better. He also spoke of the time he was standing on the edge of a cliff, about to do a tandem paraglide… but as he leapt, he banged his foot on the rock & caused himself a painful injury! But since then, he has excelled in personal development & public speaking, & grown as a person – not forgetting to stay humble!
Nick was next, & he also picked up on theme of self-development. He spoke of his 5-day challenge to invite 10 girls out for coffee, & to see if he got a ‘yes’ from any… but decided ultimately that it didn’t matter if they were interested or not! He also amazed us with his experiences of fire-walking – literally walking over hot coals to emerge victorious on the other side.
Final speaker was Chris, the second speaker of the evening to enter both contests. Chris told us of his love of all things philosophical, & that Nietzsche was one of his favourites. He shared a Nietzsche quote of his own with us, before using the unusual illustration of having one’s leg cut off in a threshing machine as a way of seeing the world in a clearer & more understanding way! He modestly told us that public speaking success hasn’t gone to his head, & he’s still the same person he ever was… but at least he has some trophies to show for it!
Chris prophetically added to his trophy count, winning the award for Best Table Topic. Runners up were Steve & Nick.
As evidenced from the photos, or special guest was Area Governor Tracy, ably-assisted in the prize-giving with Chief Judge Jacqui – who herself did an excellent job of organizing our contest judges & counters. Tracy also took to the stage to say to congratulate us all for a successful contest, & to tell us about the imminent Area Contest this coming Saturday.
Finally, Club President Julie Farrell closed the evening and thanked everyone for their contributions – inviting feedback from our guests, who certainly picked a good night to see some excellent speeches. She also produced the 2013-2014 President’s Distinguished Club ribbon from Toastmasters International, earned by the hard work of our members fulfilling the criteria tonce again to credit our club with this award.
The next meeting is of course the Area Speech Contest on Saturday at Burnham Park Hall – good luck to our winners today who will be representing the club, joined by winners of the other 4 clubs in our Area. Proceedings begin at 9:30am, and our Contest Chair will be Mell – tickets are still available.
Our next regular club night at Maidenhead Speakers will be next Monday, September 29th – see you all there!