Am impressed. The bug has bitten. For those of you sitting on the fence and dithering about whether to compete or not, we have just nine spaces left - four in January and five in February. Make up your minds soon... would hate to disappoint. Remember - regret for what we do is tempered by time; regret for what we don't do is inconsolable.
What a year it's been for the Dubs! Gerard Lucey saw off some tough competition in Round II of the 2012 GOTG last night in our first tie-break of the season. In the first half of the programme - public speaking - Gerard shared with us the history of Irish pub music. No stranger to the mic on a First Friday in Jack Doyle's, the man is, by his own admission, a 'shy but can', and with the right amount of lubrication, he can always be convinced to give us a song. Pat Loughran took us through his lengthy lead-up to his first marathon (incurring some time penalties along the way). Declan Hannigan went for the childhood memories of buying a puppy for 50p and then weaving a story to explain its appearance to his dad. Steve Carlson shared memories of a bizarre day in Bangkok when his mate Kenny became a woman. But to my mind, the best of the prepared speeches was Anna Laszlo's verbal judo. Her tips for dealing with insults and stonewalling critics were spot on.
Heading into the second-half of the programme, Rupert Slade (winner of the 2010 GOTG) showed us why he deserved the prize last time out. Who would have thought when he drew 'Ping Pong' as as a subject that he once ranked 46 in Ireland and was beaten in five straight sets by a 12-year-old who went on to be No. 1? What you learn about people, eh?
Anyway, Declan was first up and made a remarkable comeback with a very witty and inspired three minutes on the Hungarian Post Office (best speech so far in this year's competition, IMHO!). Pat, faced with three minutes on Michael Jackson's glove, shared the story of a one-armed gaelic footballer called... yes.... Michael Jackson! Steve took us to Northern California with the difficult challenge of waxing lyrical on crash test dummies. Anna brought us into the land of the surreal with two shaggy dog stories featuring kings, princes, pensioners and skinheads, with Gerard topping the bill with his explanation as to why bald men are sexier.
Despite the heavy time penalties incurred in the first half, Pat's innovative take on Michael Jackson and his glove saw him tie with Gerard for first place. But we only had one cup and one prize... so we had a tie-break with both speakers discussing the heady topic of mini-skirts.
Another great night - with some great speeches. Thanks to all for attending and to our Round II sponsors - Fun Palace and The Caledonia. Am looking forward to seeing the photos.
What's the use of a cup if you've nothing to put in it? Good news for the contestants: Budapest's one and only Scottish pub - the Caledonia - will be sponsoring Round II and providing a bottle of the finest Scotch for the winner. What a nice complement to the cup sponsored by Fun Palace. Thanks lads.
We have five speakers registered for Round II and it promises to be an interesting night. This month, we have our first Hungarian entry and our first woman on stage (so I'm really happy!). The inimitable Steve Carlson, a GOTG veteran will take the stage alongside Anna Laszlo and three of Ireland's finest exports - Pat Loughran, Declan Hannigan, and Gerard Lucey. Don't forget to reserve your ticket and submit your topic for the impromptu speeches! See you on the 19th.