The Olympics may be over, which means it’s now officially time to get excited about another multi-venue, pride-swelling, super-colourful event; and one that doesn’t leave the country bankrupt, rather raising a big lump of money for a good cause.
Yes, it’s OXJAM again, which will be taking over Beeston on the 20th October and not leaving to our collection buckets have more coppers in them than a police convention. Last year we (I say ‘we’, though I only joined late in the campaign: this year I’m marketing manager) raised a above-expectations £4,000 plus, so this year we decided to announce the new target, as well as announcing Oxjam 2012’s official launch, with a bit of a do.
So last Thursday found me suffering serious stage fright as people trooped into the cavernous confines of Barton House, paying a fiver to take part in our launch event, The POOP Quiz. Yes, POOP, which stands for ‘Post-Olympic Oxjam Pub’ quiz, and not just a childish ploy by me to get to say a mildly scatological word in public.
As people queued to be relieved of the fiver entrance fee, then queued again to empty the cheap bar, I felt a swell of panic as I realised that I had not really thought this through. Despite having some pedigree in pub-quizzes – I presented one for two years when a barman in Kent, propped up with a nightly gallon of Guinness and a stock of crap puns-I don’t really do public speaking. I couldn’t even rely on the usual crutch of Dutch courage:nerve induced heartburn had seen to that. Were the questions accurate? I’d written them a few days prior, and despite assiduous fact-checking, the Internet has been known to be wrong. Plus, I had no idea of the prizes. The omens were grim.
Yet despite one or two minor stumbles: Carly Collington,Beeston Oxjam Head Honcho, forgetting my name (only been working together closely for the past year, tsk) and my initial inability to pronounce the letter ‘P’ without the microphone popping incessantly; it all started going surprisingly well. At the half-way point the colossal talent of local guitarist Martin Jackson took over and strummed some corking numbers, as I braved a beer to lubricate my strained vocal cords.
The crowd, buoyed by the aforementioned cheap booze, became livelier and more vocal, and we flew through the second half with the A3 quiz sheets scrawled with notes, guesses, and in one case, some quite inventive exaggerated anatomical diagrams.
Congrats to the winners, though I think third place actually got the first place prize, sorry about that. The raffle then insured very few people went home empty-handed, and those who did could still bathe in that warm glow of chucking a few bob at charity.
And we certainly made a few bob. After overheads were taken into account, we made about £350 sheer profit, which is about £349.50 more than expected, and will be a great boost for the overhead funds required to run Oxjam this year. However, we need more. Money is great, but we also need YOU. Yes YOU. Don’t pretend I’m not looking at you. We need you to do one, or all of the following:
1) Buy tickets to the festival: details here:
2) Offer us lovely prizes for other events. Or just cash.
3) Volunteer. We need lots of people to don Oxjam tops and keep the festival running smoothly. Email / message me for details.
4) Come to our next fund-raiser, again at Barton House, again a quiz, details to follow.
5) Bring a friend to 4). Many friends.
Barton and on and on….
Also at Barton House this weekend is the latest summer extravaganza: NOT the Glastonbury Festival, Beeston’s inaugural weekend-long music epic that doesn’t require you to spend the weekend camping next to some passive aggressive hippies who tut when you have a scotch egg while fending off scallies intent on selling you OXO cubes and nicking your rucksack. Nope, this is a festival for those who like a good duvet and pillow-set after a hard days frugging. And frug you will. The festival features some top-notch acts, including Notts legends Seven little Sisters, Chris Evan’s offoftheradio faves Miss 600 and the wondrous talent that is the PETEBOX, and a ton of talent more heaped on. Full details here. Oh yeah, I will be manning a stall. If you fancy, pop along and I’ll sign your internet for you.
Here’s a couple of tasters:
Now for a bit of oddness. I received an email a few days ago from a jogger who had seen something strange while out at Highfields the other morning. As he was coursing round the boating lake, a loud whoosh was heard, followed by a loud bang, and the jogger- Paul- was amazed to see something splash violently into the water, causing a ‘massive explosion’. Smoke wisped from where it had crashed in, and a strong, burnt aroma followed.
This happened on the morning of Friday 9th Aug, around 7am. Paul tried to find a fellow witness in the vicinity, but as it was out of term time (and at an hour any sensible person is still refusing to believe they have to get up) this was in vain.
However, someone must have heard or seen something, as University Boulevard is close by and would have afforded a view to this event. Did you? Have you got access to any instruments that might have caught the progress of this weird event?
What could it be? The most likely explanation would be a meteor that was large enough to survive burning up in the atmosphere before hitting the ground. These are seldom seen but hardly rare events: 15,000 tonnes of cosmic debris rains down on us every year, though the majority of this is merely dust by the time it reaches the surface. The Perseid meteor shower was in full flow at the time, remnants of the Swift Tuttle comet raining down on us. Did a larger than average chunk decide to make Beeston it’s home? After spending a millennium hanging round in the cold void of space devoid of life, you’d hardly want to perpetuate that and land in Clifton.
Any witnesses, or experts on what it could have been, do contact me. And if, by this time next week we are besieged by extra-terrestrial Triffid invaders, may I get in early that I utterly bow down to our flowery overlords, and if they need a well-connected blogger to communicate their message of human enslavement and global domination…..