Only when I larf

Today I visited “The Retirement Show” at Manchester Central Exhibition Centre with a bevy of friends who are all past or approaching retirement.

As we walked from the Metro station, around the side of the building to the Centre, an employee in a fluorescent orange jacket told us to turn right at the gate and carry on down the steps. We smiled and thanked him. 5 seconds later we all turned to each other and said, “Which way did he tell us to go?”

To cut a long story short, we walked round picking up brochures on all manner of things from solar heating to Manuka honey. We sat and ate our butties, relishing the smell of the toilets and nearly falling out over who should have a home estimate first from the dishy Irish solar panels rep.  We ended up attending a short workshop on laughter to cement the cracks in our relationship.

The guy who took the workshop used to be a high-power executive in IBM but suffered a breakdown and hauled himself out of it by adopting a laughter cure which he hoped to pass on to the rest of mankind. Sadly there were very few in the audience to listen to him but we had a lot of fun. He used these wobbly rubber toys which he tossed at us and encouraged us to toss at other members of the audience with a smile on our faces. The problem was when people turned their heads away and the toys caught them flat on the cheek. It almost became violent and I saw fear on his face. He had a box of funny objects like a foam ham sandwich and a Manchester United toothbrush where the brush was the footballer’s head and the belegged shorts became the handle end………….ha, ha, ha.

He was going to get us up on stage to play ‘laughter games’ but was waved off and told it was against Health and Safety Rules.

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4 thoughts on “Only when I larf

  1. How does one make the transition from high powered executive at IBM to laughter guru? And does his wife agree with his career move? I personally feel very uncomfortable with forced audience participation, especially where clowns are involved. I sit in dread of being ‘chosen’ and then being told i’m a deadshit cos i dont join in the fun.
    Had an interesting week this week. Bob Fischer, a friend of mine and a world respected author of theology books asked me to design the cover of his latest book, after rejecting the efforts of his regular publisher, Strang Publications in the States. I designed a very punchy cover (everyone who saw it loved it) and he sent it off to Strang, who were understandably bent out of shape. Bob, as the author, has the veto so my cover is being used.

    • I was struck by how easily a fun game could become violent. It was also interesting to hear his take on laughter and how essentially it was a release. I like anything daft and find it very easy to appreciate Tommy Cooperesque humour. I also think he was gay, in answer to one of your questions. I remember hearing something about him on the radio. IBM were very good to him and gave him a lot of time off to recover but he chose a different path.
      Congrats on your success a la cover.

  2. Not sure how amusing being battered with rubber soft toys is after a while. Speaking of laughter and Manchester, we are off to Sheffield Lyceum to see “Corrie”, the not entirely serious stage show celebrating and re-enacting 50 years of Coronation Street. I was watching when the first episode aired in 1960 but I haven’t seen it at all since the early 2000’s. My irascible friend Terry is an aficianado of the show but despite an offer to get him a ticket and take him there and back he prefers to stay at home and watch rugby on TV. Miserable little fecker.

    • I would like to batter Corrie stars with rubber toys. You get totally ennuied(if that’s a word) with seeing their pictures in the M. Evening News posing as if they’re big stars when they’re only two bit soap opera clones. The better actors get out of it quickly and move on to better things. Please throw a rubber toy for me if you get the chance!!!!

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