The "twinned" tents of Laughing Gravy and Saps
at Sea don't need much of an excuse to party, but,
in jointly celebrating ten years since the
International Convention in Birmingham and the
launch of the Southend tent, a good time was
planned for Saturday 31st May 2008. And that is
exactly what we had.
The emphasis was on live entertainment. We did
find time to show the talkie version of Double
Whoopee, clips from Jellied Reels, the
Honolulu Baby Belly Dancing at the Laughing
Gravy Tent's 15th birthday and the World Premiere
of a new film Twice One. This stars the
Saps' very own 8-year-old Alexander Rowland in the
dual role of Ollie and sister Fanny and it was both
very clever and very funny.
The live entertainment included the 100
Pipers dance from Bonnie Scotland with
Laurie and Ben Young (who else!) as Stan and Ollie
and Del Kempster as Fin. Pipe Major Trevor Sharp
was masterful on the bagpipes.
We were amused and mystified by the antics of
the next act, A Right Charlie. Ace Chaplin
impersonator Lawrence Anthony involved both
youngsters and oldsters in his seemingly chaotic
but very skilful act with balloons, jugs of water,
Loads of raffle prizes, including a 21 DVD set,
and extreme generosity resulted in over £200
being raised for the Statue Fund.
Appetites were well satisfied with our grand
buffet before John Ullah hosted more live
entertainment in The Fez Factor. An array of
"talent" performed before three hard-to-please
judges. There were The Three Tenors (and the Nine
Bob Note), making a further appearance after their
Wigan "gig". Some amazing drumming came from Kevin
Pullinger, a couple of the Birmingham lads sang
Don't Laugh at Me 'Cause I'm a Fool, Dave
Dearle made us all cry with The Curse of an
Aching Heart, and several brave karaoke
performers sang their hearts out. But the deserved
winner was Mandy Finney, who wooed us all as Lola
with Won't You be my Lovey Dovey?
To celebrate the continuing friendliness of the
two tents. . . Roger gave John a pair of Oliver
Hardy socks (purchased in Debenhams!). . . John
gave Paul and Roger commemorative medals. . . Paul
gave Roger a framed Billy Gilbert autograph. .
And, when it was all over, Roger gave Paul lots
of equipment and Laurie and Ben to take home in his
Our evening had begun with the screening of
Channel 4's short documentary Film Fever,
which chronicles the visit of the Brummies tent to
Souffend in 2001. In seven minutes this film sums
up so wonderfully well just what it means to be the
Sons of the Desert. Mandy Finney says at the very
end, "Some people think that being in a Laurel and
Hardy organisation is a bit odd, but I am lucky, I
have friends all over the world." With tent members
from The Live Ghost, Men o' War and Helpmates,
Peter Küppers, Michael Schmitz, Emiliya and
Stoeva from Germany, Jason Liddiard from Paris and
Liam Muldowney from Dublin, all joining us for the
evening, Mandy's words came into my head.
It was brilliant for the Saps to celebrate
together with the 28-strong Gravyites, but to have
friends with us who had travelled such a distance
Thank you to everyone who helped make this such
a great event.
Robinson's Double Whoopee Party with the
Laughing Gravy Tent on 1st June was good
and I mean good. The entertainment was
the Great was the Oliver Hardy lookalike.
Everyone did the Gay Gordons to the
the Scottish bagpipe player, who was
great. We also had the dance from
Bonnie Scotland, with Del Kempster,
the Midnight Patrol Tent and a right
Charlie - a Chaplin lookalike, who did
magic. I was taken on stage and was part
of the act. For 15 minutes of good fun I
had to blow up this big balloon and
Chaplin made me a balloon hat.
had a break, a nice buffet and drinks etc.
Then we watched films. The first was
Double Whoopee - the version
with the talking and sound effects, which
to be honest is not very good. If it been
done with two good Laurel and Hardy
soundalikes it would have been
good. The second film was the Channel
4 film from 1998 about the Sons and Saps
and Laughing Gravy. And the 3rd film was
made by Ollie lookalike Alexander, which
was good and well done. The forth film was
clips from the Jellied Reels DVD,
which I will have to buy.
had the raffle, the proceeds from which
went to the Statue Appeal. Then it was
Fez Factor (karaoke) time, which
was won by Mandy Finney aka Lola. We had
the toasts and we sang We Are the Sons
of the Desert.
night with a good turnout of seventy to
eighty Sons. Well done, everyone, Thank
you, Roger and the Saps and John
and Laughing Gravy.