Tuesday, 24 July 2012

It's an Olympic double-whammy! (But only just!)

The London Olympics officially open in a few of days, but a couple of weeks ago I stole a bit of a march on them on a rather wet Sunday in Letchworth, scissor fans!

The Olympic Torch has been carried around the British Isles for at least a month and its overdue appearance in my current place of residence was met with baited breath. I fair old skipped to the bottom of Station Road to meet up with my mate Sam and his kids and as we waited for the various sponsors trucks to pass we were spied from across the road by opening-fan Sarah who was tickled pink later that day when she emailed me this little photo with the title "is it opening time?"

Here's Sam holding the brolly, Jake and Sofia holding the ribbon. Yours Truly looks on  like the ribbon king he is! This kind of guerilla-style photography has not been seen since the very first opening, snippy monkeys!

It certainly was! Before we had time to shout "Modern pentathlon" the police bikes had passed and there he was! the torch bearer! Well it was a close-run thing but we just about unofficially opened him - and in the nick of time, you Olympic snippers!

A very tricky opening to orchestrate but we got it! Or did we?
Disaster! Sam was so excited about getting the ribbon in he forgot the Olympic Flame itself! The spirit of fair play and good sportsmanship didn't quite make it into the photo! Curses! But hang on maybe the spirit of Olympus flows through us all! I was struck by a cunning plan! I remembered the lines of people on the streets on my way to Station Road and if I wasn't mistaken - the torch was going to go up into town, pass the cinema, double back on itself, head down Gernon road and, and...

...Go down my street! Well we would certainly have broken the four minute mile if we'd kept up that run back to where I'd come from and at one point I thought the kids might fall off the pace. They kept up (with a bit of help from Sam) and before we knew it, POW! There was the torch again, this time being carried rather more sedately, if truth be told...

If you head up the left hand side of the lamp post to the right of the picture you can just see the flame!

See? here it is in close up! And there's Sam's daughter Sofia taking everything VERY seriously indeed!
We thus managed to unofficially open the Olympic torch not once, but twice! Is that a new Olympic Unofficial Opening Record? It is as far as I'm concerned! If the Team GB perform as well as we did, the gold medals are in the bag! Sadly I didn't see Roger Bannister, Sir Steve Redgrave, Dame Kelly Holmes or Daley Thompson on the way round but I'm sure they were there in spirit.

Two other things before I leave you, opening fans. When I told my friend Howard what happened he exclaimed "My God! Unofficial Openings are faster than the speed of fire!". We might well be, Howard, we might well be but one thing's for sure - I never miss an opportunity to recreate an iconic situation and today was no exception, because while we were waiting for the Olympic Torch to arrive initially, I procured a bottle of cola, and ceremoniously ran towards Sam and the kids. The photo is caught here for posterity. Check back soon for more Unofficial Opening!

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

An opening to really get your teeth in to!

Crikey Moseley! It's been a while, opening fans - and I haven't really got any excuses. I've just been a bit bone idle. Anyway the good news is that my snipping wrist is in rude health as a result of the time off and my ribbon is positively itchy! Good job then that the other week my mate Andy invited me up to stay in his hotel in Whitby and wow! What a place! Actually, what a TWO places! First stop was (obviously) fish and chips at his hotel up by the golf course (The White House - no, not that one), then a trip into town to sample some local ales before an early night, scissor monkeys - there was opening to do on the morrow...

Whitby golf course, as seen from the bench my fish and chips were on

 ...And what an opening? First I had to take in the view from my room in his (other) hotel, The Resolution.

The view of the abbey from my hotel window. That looks like a bit of a climb...

Another stunner, this time of Whitby's mysterious abbey. Well I was a bit concerned - this was Dracula country after all. A bigger concern was the 173,682 steps up to it. Andy sprinted up like the clean-living tigger he is. I lagged behind, catching my breath and periodically rubbing my calves. Well, I'm not getting any younger. Mind you, I'm younger than the lovely old folk we found at the top (I don't know how old people make it up there. I'm sure not as many come down) and to be honest they were reluctant to get involved, but we eventually cajoled them into holding the ribbon and CHOP CHOP SLASH SLASH history was made, unofficial opening style!

These two ribbon holders didn't want to be named. What was their terrible secret? Were they cheating on their other halves? 

 After that all I had to do was get down the mountain again and avoid the vampires. It wasn't too much of a problem. Christopher Lee and Gary Oldman were nowhere to be seen, The Lost Boys were exactly that and forrtunately I was within the hours of dawn 'til dusk so I was pretty much in the clear.

That Dracula blokes done well for himself - he's even got a gift shop.

There'll be some more snipping antics in the near future, so make sure to check back soon for some more unofficial opening!

Monday, 23 April 2012

It's an Oslopening!

Greetings, scissor fans! Well after the shattering experience in The Grand Canyon I did what any sensible unofficial opener would do and I decamped to Norway! That's right! Norway! The land of the Fjords, midnight sun and of course beer for ten quid a pint. Europe's Northernmost country has always held a fascination and when the opportunity arose to finally go there, I grabbed it with both hands, openers. Now - some of you will know that it's Olympic year and 2012 sees these ancient games return to their spiritual and ancestral home of London. The Greeks may lay claim to them but working on the basis that both God AND Jesus are Obviously English, I think we can fairly safely say The Olympics are as well. Being a generous and peace loving nation, England loans out the Olympics to a different country every four years to help them out (only very occasionally taking it back ourselves for the summer just to check it's all right and give it a polish). The Olympics has a little nephew called "The Winter Olympics" and in 1952 we let him go to Norway on holiday. His opening ceremony was held at the Bislett Stadium. Let's see what the Norwegians think of Bislett, shall we?
Bit harsh, Norwegians. I quite like the place, in fact, I'd go as far as to say I LOVE IT. Particularly when a lovely couple called Anders and Tuna (Well that's what she called herself and I didn't like to pry) sidle past and aren't put off at me approaching them wielding a pair of scissors. It's a good job they were there as well! Henrik Ibsen, Anni-Frid Lyngstad (I know, I thought she was Swedish as well!), Edward Munch and Roald Amundsen were nowhere to be seen!They were more than happy to pull my ribbon taught - and why wouldn't they be? I'd got my favourite ceremonial jacket on and, after all, it's an honour being a part of Unofficial Openings!
The Bislett Olympic stadium. Officially opened in 1952 with a huge celebration. Unofficially opened on its sixtieth anniversary with rather less brouhaha openers, but then nobody likes a show off, do they?. So there we are - I had lovely Linda to take the photo on this occasion (She's far better looking than Steve). All that's left to do is take a look at where they held the 1952 Oslo Childrens Olympics:
Make sure you check back soon and spread the word about Unofficial Openings! If nobody looks at this blog, I might as well just be snipping in the park!

(Oh and hit the above link to vote for me in my one-man war against the neurotic (and borderline alcoholic)harridans of North America).

Monday, 16 April 2012

The ultimate opening? Not quite...

Howdy, cutting buddies!

I've been getting very excited about this unofficial opening for a while now - two years in fact. That's right! I was excited about it a good twelve months before I even thought of Unofficial Openings but it took me a while to pluck up the courage (And save the money) to journey to the greatest wonder in the world and lucky old me because fortunately I wasn't the only one there. But where was I? Well here's a lovely couple called Dean and Trula and I think the backdrop gives it away a little...

The lovely Dean and Trula
Of course it does! I was only readying myself to unofficially open THE GRAND CANYON! But hang on, scissor-lovers, how was I going to get enough ribbon to get across there! Obviously I had to improvise a little for the greatest wonder in the world and so I cued up unofficial photographer (And travelling mate for this trip) Steve, positioned the lovely (and willing) ribbon holders and snips away! It was open!

Hold that camera steady, Steve - this is the big one!

Good lad!
Now that was of course a classic opening at a classic venue - but it was a bit touristy, since it was taken at Mather Point, the official viewing gallery for The Grand Canyon at GC Village itself. I wanted something a little different and Steve's chance meeting with a Hopi Indian called Bernie in a bar called "Porky's" in Flagstaff, Arizona had led to him telling us about THE best place to see The Grand Canyon on the South Rim, namely, Shoshone point. Flagstaff is on Route 66 and I have to admit I was rather hoping I would bump into Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode, The Cramps or any of the other great bands who have crooned so lovingly about America's favourite highway but I was out of luck. Fortunately Bernie was staying focused. When he told us about it we said "ShoshoME where it is then!". He showed us. It's a couple of miles East of the "accepted" viewing point and involves a mile long hike uphill through woods! Well at 7000 feet above sea level I was a little bit concerned about my ability to make the journey, scissor fans, and certainly the gateway to the woods was a bit more than my trusty snippers could handle

I think I would have needed bolt cutters to unofficially open THIS bad boy...
But undeterred, we trekked on and I have to say, it was worth the hike. Here is me at Shoshone Point, absolutely in awe of the natural splendour and beautiful surroundings that I found myself in...

What a great spot! All it needs is a couple of ribbon holders...
...The problem with remote, secret and amazing viewing points is that they tend not to have anyone else there and we had to wait quite a while before fellow canyon gawpers Lindsey and Chantel turned up. When they did we quickly persuaded them to hold onto the ribbon for the ultimate unofficial opening but DISASTER! I'd run out of the bloody stuff, opening chums! Quel Dommage!

Oh woe! I'm devastated! But look at Lindsey and Chantel smiling away - I don't think they realise the gravity of the situation...
Still, you can't have everything in this life and I just had to promise myself that next time I would be better prepared. I know I'm my own worst taskmaster, but it wouldn't be Unofficial Openings if I wasn't. Check back soon, you scissory cavaliers... And tell your friends about Unofficial Openings!

Click the link above to see a load of other blogs, mostly about poor parenting and lipstick.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The first opening of 2012 - and it was a Tyrolean disaster!

A belated Happy New Year, snipping chums! 

Since I lost my scissors in Budapest I've been looking around to try and get a pair exactly the same and when I finally did I ordered them online, but beware, brothers, BEWARE. When they arrived they were a different colour! Never trust the internet! Apparently my beloved 2011 editions had been discontinued and so it's out with the turquoise and in with the... grey. I guess the colour reflects both the state of the nation AND my hair so we'll be using them for the rest of the year to unofficially open a whole host of things that have already been opened!

First up for the annum potentialis and I once again found myself in Austria, this time on a comedy & skiing trip to the fabulous St. Anton. After liaising closely with the tourist office, booking the flights, booking the hotel, getting the posters designed (and printed) and contacting the hotels, pensions and chalets throughout Arlberg I was confident that the three shows I had booked with my fellow comedians Dave Thompson and Christian Schulte-Loh would be a bumper bonanza of comedy and fun.

This is the view from the balcony of our chalet in the nearby village of Pettneu. Ooh! I wonder if that skiing lady is on her way to buy tickets to our show?

Who knows exactly the reasons why but after two very low audiences we really had put our faith in our last show and so it's fair to say I was disappointed when we only got six people in to it. Well there was only one thing for it, ribbonjunkies! I had to get the entire audience on stage, get one of them to take the photograph, get the other comedians to hold the ribbon and unofficially open an empty room.

Here's Dave (left) and Christian (right), tightening that ribbon in a really quite severe fashion. They are both very tall but not quite as massive as they appear - They were on the stage and I was on the floor, honest. I managed to keep smiling, ribbonites, but this one was a push. Nevermind - we snip onwards AND WE SNIP UPWARDS!
This might have been my most depressing opening yet, but I remained scissor-happy and with good reason - the next opening I had planned was going to be a beauty. In other words, keep the faith, opening monkeys! greatness awaits! Tell everyone about unofficial openings! Tell them now!

...And check the above link out for some other great blogs, mostly written by American women. Once a month they get a bit angry but they don't know why.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Opening 24 - A Hungarian Pay Off!

Hello there, opening fans! Hot on the heels of me unofficially opening "laughter" in Austria I found myself but a day later in Budapest, scissors primed for another esoteric unofficial opening. Now what could possibly follow something as mind-blowing as unofficially opening jollity in one of Europe's finest (And sternest) capital cities? I needed something special and it showed up in the shape of the area's foremost promoter, Howard Cohen...

Here's me with Howard, shortly before I went on stage at Smiley's comedy club, Budapest - and don't we look smiley!
Howard had enjoyed the previous night's opening so much he fair old begged me to come up with something to unofficially open in Hungary that hadn't been opened in a very long time indeed - something special, something that would bring the nation together, something that could make everyone sit up and smile. I thought long and hard about what I could possibly open that could do this and then I thought to myself - hang on a minute! This guy is notorious for never putting his hand in his pocket! There's only one thing for it! Let's unofficially open...

His wallet!

Well, ribbonites, I had a problem because guess what? He hadn't even brought his wallet out with him! Why would he? He's only the guy responsible for paying the acts on the night, he's only the front man for The Baby Blue Banana comedy empire! He's only got the tram down to the gig with us so he can have a drink as well. Obviously, the drinks must be free for him, because HE HASN'T GOT ANY MONEY AT ALL so why would he need a wallet?

This was an unofficial opening though - and an esoteric one at that, so I wasn't going to let a little thing like a lack of a wallet stop me, no sir! I had a brainwave - Howard has a new business partner and any business partner of Howard's is going to need his wallet on him at all times! Enter Ken! Ken is the latest in a long line of people who Howard is going to end up owing money to so he might as well get used to getting his wallet out on Mr. Cohen's behalf! Photographer procured, Howard positioned, ribbon holders co-opted and it was time for quite simply the funniest opening I've ever done! The entire audience were in stitches - it turns out Howard Cohen owes half of them money too! Is there anyone this man doesn't owe money to? Mexico? Northern Rock? Did Greece lend him a tenner? Who knows? All I know is that we can now declare Howard Cohen's wallet unofficially... open! Unfortunately Bela Bartok and Erno Rubik couldn't make it. The former had a great excuse - he's deceased. The latter (I imagine) was probably trying to work out the latest fiendish puzzle to come out of Hungary - how does anybody get any money out of Howard Cohen?

Wait for it, Hungarian cameraman! Wait for it...

Kapow! Look at the grin on the cheeky fella! I didn't see where he put Ken's wallet but I suspect it may have gone in his back pocket...
There was a problem, though - I was so giddy with excitement that I did something terrible. You know the song "I left my heart in San Francisco"? ...I left my scissors in Budapest! I imagine Howard has pawned them by now so until I can locate an identical pair, unofficial openings is on hold! Don't worry though - it won't be long before I'm at it again so check back soon for more Unofficial Openings!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Another Foreign opening - Gelächter in Österreich!

Guten Tag unofficial openers! Well what a week it's been! Not one, but two openings in not one but two different countries in not one but two different central European capital cities! You'll be telling me next that they were both esoteric! They were!

Last Tuesday saw me arriving at Cafe Jose Feliciano in downtown Vienna to perform at their first ever regular comedy night and I was so excited! Not only was I going to be headlining the gig but I was also going to be meeting my adoptive Austrian daughters, Sabi and Miri...

Here I am with Sabi and Miri. I first met them in 2008 at a music festival in Spain. Little did they know that three and a half years later I would be putting them to work, scissor fans!
...Well! with typical Austrian efficiency they were right on time, we got stuck into some Zipfer beer (When in Austria and all that) and before I knew it Dan Thomas had taken to the stage and was making everybody giggle...

Here's Dan, pre-show with some of the audience. He looks ecstatic -  Of course he was - he was but minutes away from an esoteric unofficial opening!
The interval came and went and my scissor fingers were fair old trembling as I took to the stage. I made sure I warmed up the crowd a bit before unleashing this particular opening, it being a little controversial, to say the least. Austria is not known for being full of chuckles and has a reputation for austerity, fascism and, well,  a certain stuffiness - but that all changed at The Baby Blue Banana comedy club as with the help of my Austrian babies, I unofficially opened...

Look how happy we all are! Of course we're happy! We're in Austria!

Yes, that's right, you snip-happy lunatics! Laughter! Never again shall Austria miss out on this most fantastic demonstration of happiness! I'm here to bring joy, unofficial openers - I'm here to bring joy! Sadly none of Austria's famous faces could make it down for one reason or another so I had no opportunity to bump into Adolf Hitler, Johan Strauss II or Hans Krankl but there was a famous Austrian pop singer there, whose name escapes me. Oh well! Make sure you check back here soon for the second leg of my Central European Esoteric Unofficial Opening Opus!