A Catton parkrun Christmas…..

Inspired by all the recent kerfuffle about the meaning of Christmas, the Core Team set about putting on a show to show the true parkrun meaning of Christmas. Designed to be a cross between a traditional Nativity and Aladdin, on the ground floor of Catton parkrun towers the auditorium area was prepared (Dan’s litter trays cleared away / James’s ham fisted attempts at “art”, Brtt’s Shed construction efforts, etc) and we invited all the families who come to Catton parkrun to watch... what could go wrong?

Dan: Everyone’s favourite slightly rabid Event Director was determined to kick off the show and therefore pulled rank to cast himself as the Little Drummer Boy. This is who comes out at the beginning of the pantomime to spread the Christmas message of love and being together, beating his little drum and happily singing ‘tum-te-tum-tum’.

Unfortunately, being a pastiche of a certain muppet (like most of the core team to be honest…) Dan had other ideas, and, (inspired by watching far too much VH-1 “80’s RAWK DOCUMENTARIES” when the TV in his cage had become stuck on that channel after he gnawed on it once too often).... appeared determined to put his own aspect on the character.

Dan turned up on stage far too early in Lycra leopard print leggings, a giant shaggy permed Bon Jovi wig, a leather jacket, huge black eyeliner and a T-shirt that read “ED/RD”.

Also gone was the cute drummer boy snare drum, somehow replaced with a giant 80 piece VICIOUS kit suspended above the stage. Dan tore viciously into his drum solo, so angrily in fact that his sticks rapidly broke. Desperately he hunted for a replacement and grabbed the nearest thing at hand, and spent the rest of his set hitting the tubs with one of the stuffed sheep from the nativity scene at the side of the stage that had been loaned to us by Mandy Foyster. Oh dear.

Off to a bad start but I’m sure things will get better….

David: Being the composite English Gentleman Thespian, having had been trained not only at the Barbican in London but had also spent a few semesters at the New York School for the Dramatic Arts in New York. (He was one of the original Kids from FAME no less, one of those that was in the film but didn’t make it to the TV Show). David was cast as Joseph, with Shelley as the Virgin Mary by virtue of the fact she is up the duff. Like a true thespian, David spent many hours in private before the play, to ‘get into’ ‘flesh out’ and ‘mesh together’ his character.

David stood into the wings next to an increasingly grumpy and tired Shelley who thought all this shenanigans would be better served by giving the kids too much sugar and a trip to the Yarmouth arcades instead, while she went and had a lie down. David’s cue came; he stepped out on stage… and was instantly struck down by stage fright.

Mr Parker stood there, like a pole, drooling slowly out the side of his mouth, saying “Shlolpadop” once every eight seconds.

Oh dear.

 Shelley: Shelley put her head in her hands and rubbed her temples in despair at the sight our core team Elder Statesman making a mess of things and decided that Christmas spirit would be better served by going for a lie down and getting Mr Shelley to rub her feet.

Turning on her heels and heading for the stage door, she threw her head-dress into the arms of a bemused Brtt, who was only supposed to be working behind the scenes (as he was going to be too small for anything unless we were putting on Tom Thumb instead), saying “you do it!” firmly slamming the door behind her in search of chocolate and a hot bath.

Brtt: Brtt was delighted by this turn of events, having been relegated to the role of stage management amid visibility fears, and breaking from the script so much with Nativity and Panto Statto facts (BrttFact #547 – “The word pantomime is derived from the Greek word παντόμιμος (pantomimos). The meaning is imitates all.”) that what is supposed to be a two hour long Panto would in fact turn into a six hour long regalement of honestly interesting factoids….

Jamming the headgear onto his noggin (and then pushing it back because it was too big), Brtt confidently headed to the stage and began his revised first line “Joseph, did you know that there were 149 sheds built at the ti…. *agh*”.

Sadly, Brtt slipped up on the shattered remains of Dan’s drumstick from earlier and careened off the stage….

Kelly and Kyra: Newest member to the core team along with daughter Kyra had taken on the role of the pantomime / nativity horse. Neither were keen on being directly identified as having anything to do with the Omnishambles they were certain that this event would end up as, but both are civic minded and wanted to do their bit. Therefore both had taken on the part of the traditional UK panto horse.

“Clip Clop” said Kyra, wearily, as they saw Dad / Hubby fall flat on his face. “Clip Clop, Clip Clop” said Mum, sadly in resignation. And in their words, imagine the resignation… “Clip Clop” they said in unison. “Clip…. Clop”.

I’m sad now. Clip clop everyone. *Looks at Brtt lying unconscious in a crumpled heap, gently murmuring something about signs* Clip clop.

Ian: Eternal optimist, great person, parkrun ambassador and permanently slightly lost chap Ian had been cast as Aladdin. Sadly in the Bethlehem / Agrabah mashup creation we had put on, he was nowhere to be found. While Ian is normally kept busy dividing his time between the sprawling complex of Coolknee Laboratories and parkrun HQ, he should know the way to Catton parkrun towers. I mean, we all know where that is right?


“Rats, I’m late!” coughed Ian, pedalling frantically up to the loading bay of Catton parkrun towers. Unfortunately for Ian, his luck ran true as inexplicably his brakes failed to work properly, sending him careening into the loading bay wall. “Ha!” said Ian, as he picked himself up out of his bike wreckage, “Can’t get me like that!” he said as he revealed a full riding suit made of knitted Kevlar. Unfortunately the crash had dislodged some loose pallets stacked up by the side of the loading bay, which came crashing down towards Ian’s head.

“Ha!!!” said Ian, “Can’t get me like that EITHER!”, he said, removing his super bike helmet to look at the new dents the brickwork and pallets had left. “I’m just prepared for you, life! You can’t get me, not tonight!” he announced to the fates that torment him, as he stood resplendent in his Aladdin robes. “Right, to the stage!” he declared, walking away from the minor disaster area he had created behind him. Unfortunately at that point he stepped on a discarded rake that SuperMatt had left lying around as he headed towards the stage door and knocked himself spark out.

Oh dear.

Miranda: Miranda had been cast as the genie for the Aladdin portion of the show. Mainly because she had threatened to “Treat our kneecaps like a Christmas cracker” if we didn’t give her what she wanted. Fair enough. She had resisted the attempts from Brtt to spray her blue as well, insisting that she would wear any colour we wanted, “as long as it’s black”.

Being logistically awesome and her career in Black Ops serving her well, Miranda had synchronized her watch to the start of the show and then awaited in the giant lamp at the side of the stage in a hypnotic trance, in order to awaken her senses at just the right moment chronologically and spring out to deliver her line “Who awakens the Genie of the lamp?”. And therefore was unaware of the chaos that had taken place around her until this moment.

Miranda’s watch buzzed, she instantly opened her eyes from her trance, leapt out of the lamp and…

James: Loud mouthed James had been put in charge of sound effects for the production, reasoning that anyone who could shout as loud as he can has a grasp of acoustics that goes beyond the norm. Sadly James is a bit over literal and just thought that he was supposed to provide all the sound effects using his shout, so as Miranda burst through the top of the lamp, the big galoot started into his “Gooooood Morning Everybody…..!!!!” shout that shakes the birds from the sky at 8:50 every Saturday morning.

This confused Miranda who was expecting a bang, a kaboom, or at least, a gasp from the increasingly confused and disappointed audience (most of whom had drifted away already in search of something more interesting…) – and instead of delivering her line, she instead automatically began reciting her “Run Director Code” kata, and began making martial arts moves over the stage instead, reciting “All Dogs on a short lead… hai!. Faster Runners look for slower runners, hai! You can see them! They can’t see you! Hai! Don’t park on Oak Lane! Hai!”…. this meditation takes at least 30 minutes… so we’ll leave her to it. Oh dear. “

James continued his shout. Then held up his “Run briefing here” (The wrong way round as usual).sign with a hopeful look on his simple face. Oh dear.

Robin and Andy: International jetsetting couple Robin and Andy had taken on the parts of the two wise men (cutbacks) . Upon seeing the wreck our play was, they got back on the plane and left. Leaving nothing but an aura of fabulousness…. And Joop.

Theresa: Theresa had been cast as the angel of Christmas, being, as she is, a good and decent person. Descending from the rafters on a guidewire at the appointed time, she sighed, closed her eyes, and wished for peace on earth, good will to all men, rocking abs, and for people to please not park on Oak Lane. Please.

Then oddly, we noticed she wasn’t using any sort of guidewires… and those wings were far too realistic… and she was backlit... we didn't have any backlighting... could she be…. Nah….

Merry Catton Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

And don't park on Oak Lane!