Money counted, bills paid, accounts settled and we have 54,000 forint in the bank for the Give a Little campaign. Not bad going at all for Round I of the Gift of the Gab. Thanks to all of you who supported the event and thanks, too, to those who gave a little extra on the door. Always good to see that the donating spirit is alive and well and living in Budapest.
Am still reeling. We had more than 70 people last night at Smiley's to witness the rebirth of the Gift of the Gab. Nothing much has changed in the format other than Gretchen is now with us in spirit and not in body and the lads at Fun Palace have added a touch of class by sponsoring a trophy cup for the winner of each heat with Jack Doyle's adding a 'little something' to drink from it.
First up was David Trayford with an interesting take on time travel and how we all do it. Definitely a new perspective for me. Brian Elders kept us entertained with stories of when Budapest was considered a 'hardship' posting and his fond memories of waking up in a flower bed in Oktogon with the previous night's McDonald's under his arm. Peter Temesvary talked to us about breaking the thank-you barrier - a lesson there for all of us. Tim O'Sullivan wondered aloud what he was doing lecturing us on visions and morals of which, by his own admission, he has none. And David Saddington could have been cast as the Milk Tray man with his graphic illustration of the importance of not forgetting your passport.
With the easier (!) prepared speeches over, it was time to start on the impromptus and to see who really had the gift of the gab - variously defined as (i) to talk idly or incessantly, as about trivial matters, (ii) the ability to talk readily, glibly, and convincingly, and (iii) the ability to speak easily and confidently in a way that makes people want to listen to you and believe you.
David Trayford chose to go to the audience with the topics he picked: The Irish Weather or The first and last numbers in your mobile phone directory - who are they, where did you get them, and why do you have them. Unusually, no one wanted to talk about the weather. The audience asked Peter Temesvary to talk about a day in the life of a BKV controller while David Saddington chose to stick with his first topic - pets - and introduce us to Fluffy. Brian Elders pulled up a chair and settled down to talk about the which is more important: the car or the computer and Tim O'Sullivan capped it all off by reminiscing about unicycling in Oxford.
The judges - Colin, Kinga, Kenny, Tunde, and David - decided that the man from Cork - Tim O'Sullivan - would be the one they'd like to see again in the final.
All in all, a great night. Thanks to everyone for supporting the cause and remember, if you'd like to get up on stage, let us know!
After going through an onerous eight minutes of talking, each speaker is sure to be dying for a drop of libation - and thanks to Jack Doyle's, the winner will walk away with a bottle. You're alright, Jack!
The cancellation has cancelled - seems like someone is determined to see me go gray. So full programme, full agenda, with five speakers all set to go.
We've had a last-minute cancellation for Round 1, which means we have a vacant slot. Much and all as I would love to do it myself, I feel it's only fair to offer you the chance to step in... let me know ASAP!
An odd post, no doubt... but a worthy one. Next time you're in a hotel and are debating whether or not to pack the extra soap and shampoo, please do. And bring it to the Gift of the Gab where we will collect them for a family homeless shelter in Budapest. It's not a big thing, but having your own soap and shampoo offers a little personal dignity in the otherwise undignified world of homelessness. And sure haven't you already paid for them in the price of your room?
The Gift of the Gab is on its way back to a stage near you. We're opening on Wednesday, 21st September at Smiley's on St István korut. Thanks to Kenny and Terry for giving us a home in the basement. Thanks, too, to David Saddington for making us look professional with this great website. And curses on the IHBC lads (you know who you are) for plying me with Magners and persuading me to run with it again. Jeremy F. Wheeler Esq., is busy sorting out his wardrobe for the season and will bring his unique brand of humour to the stage as he reigns supreme over the scores... and more.
It's pretty much the same format as 2009 with one HUGE difference. This time, we're running the GOTG as a charity event in support of the IHBC's Give a Little campaign so all proceeds will go to a worthy cause. Last time we didn't make any money at all, but we've been taking classes!
So get registering... book your tickets, book your speaking slot, book your PSA. Promote yourself.
See you on the 21st