The true horror of the initiation ceremony for the Knights of Royal England was finally made public. The queue to join suddenly leaped from 3 to nearly 5.
Close friends and family, from across the country, were summoned to South Somerset for a very important reason. It was my birthday party! It's actually my birthday today, but frankly, apart from jobbing actors in the West End, no one has parties on a Sunday, so my 45th birthday thrash was to take place on February 25th 2012 at Barrington Village Hall. For once I was not to be dressed as Henry VIII at a party which was a relief. Music and sound was supplied by Party Tyme Entertainments, run by my mate Robbie Strickland from Stoke sub Hamdon, plus there would be a chance at the party for people to get up and do a song or two if they wished. Also we would be having a whip round to collect money for the National Autism Society and... well, just have a bit of fun! Lots of people chipped in with food and drink - my lovely friend Lisa Head (who I used to work with at Skandia in Southampton) was baking some cup cakes and bringing them with her. And they were fantastic - vanilla and chocolate, and just mind blowingly good.
Well the evening was a bit of a riot, mostly thanks to the Knights of Royal England, who turned up en masse, and made a pretty good party a quite staggeringly brilliant party. I kicked off the singing on stage by murdering "Fireflies" by Owl City, and then after a few crap jokes I sang "Chocolate Girl" by Deacon Blue in deference to the aforementioned, deeply wonderful Lisa Head. The Knights did a few songs, including an a capella version of "I'm Henry the Eighth I Am" with an impromptu "Full Monty" strip section, as you can see in the photo above. We ended the evening with wild singalongs to Guns N Roses, Green Day, Queen and a variety of others, and I had a splendid old time playing air guitar and singing The Boys are Back in Town with the deeply wonderful and insane Roland Bearne. Great stuff! The collected money came to about £220, which I shall bump up a bit more and then send a cheque off to the National Autism Society. I hope they'll be happy. We also had a jousting tournament, like in the schools, only this time with various plastered adults riding the hobby horses - most of the Knights of Royal England took part - and were soundly thrashed by a group of ordinary punters! Wonderful.
It was a truly legendary evening - made all the more special by having so many dear close friends and family with me. Thank you to all of you for your efforts to get there and support the evening. Today, I feel like I have just taken a punishment beating from the IRA, with aching knees and ankles (too much dancing), but it is definitely worth it. I can honestly say, it is the best party I have ever hosted. However, I think I now ought to go and have a long lie down in a dark room. Good night!