The Hunter's Column
Autumn 2010

On The Banks Of The River

Is Worcester Beer Festival the funniest place on the planet? Probably not, but it certainly seems that way, when you are standing in front of the merchandise stall, after a pint or two, reading the tee shirts (shouldn't they be beer shirts?) that are on display and giggling into your glass. It beats the alleged comics on the telly, who are generally far too sneering and full of themselves for the likes of me. What happened to the good old, straight down the middle, funny stuff of ancient, comic heroes such as Professor Jimmy Edwards (no not that funny stuff), Ted Ray, Tommy Trinder, Arthur Askey etc? OK, I'll give it you on AA, you'd have more fun attending one of his meetings, but as for the infantile escapades of Jonathan Ross or depths of TV filth reached by the dreadful Graham Norton, I'd rather be standing up to my ankles in a stream of cold, muddy water, which, as it happens, I was. There'd been a cloudburst over the racecourse, where the festival takes place and it looked as though the Severn had been diverted straight through the middle of the beer tent. Now when I say tent, I mean a grand marquee, which was the size of an industrial estate, but slightly less attractive. What happened to the swinging chandeliers of old, that sprinkled the merry throng with just the right shade of seedy decadence, which is what a beer festival is all about, isn't it?

'Bob the Boozer. Can he drink it? Yes he can' was hanging next to another with a picture of the (always) late Oliver Reed, who passed away a few hours after challenging a group of marines to a drinking contest, at his local bar in Malta. Written below it were the immortal words 'Lost in Action May 3 1999'. A Pyrrhic victory if ever there was one. Another had him rigged up as Indiana Jones in…'The Tipple Of Doom'. One of my favourites was 'The liver is evil and must be punished'. I thought I'd better investigate this statement on behalf of my fellow drinkers and found that it was fully endorsed at Uncyclopedia, on the internet. Quote: "The liver is an organ that most people have, but doesn't fulfill any special needs of the body. In fact, the liver does nothing. Its name comes from the fact that it lives on other organs' resources, taking valuable blood supply from the appendix, the nails, and the bunions". Q.E.D.

The beer shirt stand was not the only place of unrivalled wit. I happened to be serving in front of the C's; the breweries were arranged in alphabetical order. There was one particular ale, from Church End Brewery, that drinkers were queueing up to sup, enticed by its name, 'A Glass Poor Yorik'. I discovered later that it was actually a misspelling and should have read 'A Glass Pour Yorik' but what's in a name? At least they got the alphabet right…now that would have been a giggle.

Bill Hunt