Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Conference . . .


On clubs and competitions and other curious things


Do you do stand up?

No, I prefer to sit when I tell jokes.  

What is it about the world that has made comedy such a sought after thing? Wherever one goes people are flocking to listen to stand-up comedians. The recent Grahamstown National Arts Festival saw a glut of comedy shows and television is awash with programmes like The Last Comic Standing.  After giving the matter some thought I have come to the conclusion that our lives are probably pretty ordinary. In fact, in many cases they are downright boring. All we ever face on television news is murder and mayhem, so it stands to reason that we want to escape from reality with a good dose of laughter. Psychological studies abound with reports about the curative powers of laughter. In fact, some have described laughter as 'massage for your innards'.

Toastmasters has a strong tradition of encouraging humorous speeches, especially in our annual Humorous Speech Contest and Algoa is proud to say that we have a past National winner in our midst - Marlene van Wyk/Vosloo.  

If you have not worked it out yet, I am trying to encourage you to enter our club competition, which, if I have it right is on 28 August. You can't say 'I am not funny' if you have not tried it. Who knows, we may have a budding Trevor Noah among you.  How do you enter?  Just get hold of Alison at or on 0845150110 and she will slot you in.  Remember, the other competition battle that is to be fought is the Impromptu Speech Contest.

Congratulations are in order this month:
  • Quinton Jacobs and his bride, Karien have tied the knot! A lovely ceremony and reception were attended by a number of our club members who reported that Quinton was truly overwhelmed by the emotion of the moment.  Well done, you two.
  • Alan Hunter, who has been working furiously at it for the past number of years, has emerged with an LLB degree. Congratulations, Alan. We are very proud of you.
  • Glenis Whitehead, who is not only our many-times past President and past Area Governor, and current Division Governor of Division E, celebrated a very special  and significant birthday on Sunday 12 August. I am not allowed to mention the number, but she tells me she is now officially allowed to think about retirement.  
  • New member, Mike Brosnahan, proved last night what they say about beginner's luck. Not only was he newly installed, but he also won the award for Best Table Topics speech. Michael Warren, eat your heart out!

Women's Month featured as the theme of the evening at the meeting on 14 August, presided over by Toastmaster Belita von Steiger, new CC.  " The whole point of getting things done is to know what to leave undone"  That could only have been said by a woman!   During the Table Topics session presented by Deborah Stevenson, members were encouraged to speak around the idea of What do women really want? There were many offers, but my favourite was 'to eat chocolate and not get fat' 

The prepared speeches were varied and interesting. Glenis Whitehead ( re-doing her CC manual) completed a CC6 speech (using vocal variety) with the interesting title Don't be surprised by my red hat. After this she was presented with her club pin for having completed five speeches.

Thereafter, Angie Kivido, in a well-researched CC7 speech paid homage to a South African great in a speech called The SA Agulhas and her part in the Arctic Research Project.

Louise Solomons did a practice run of a speech which she had to deliver to middle management students, entitled The Lion and the Mouse. 

Even the Toast of the evening, presented by Mariannah Lourens, was an advanced level project speech To the Missionvale care Centre and Sister Ethel.

As General  Evaluator, Colleen Love summed it up, the speeches provided everything: entertainment by Glenis, information by Angie and motivation by Louise.

I know that a number of you have been reading the blog, which makes it all worthwhile. We are experiencing problems with the feature that allows you to comment, but Belita assures me that it can and will be fixed.  In the meantime, brush off your sense of humour and see if it still works. then pick up the phone and tell Alison that you want to be part of the Humorous Speech contest on 28th.

Until next time.

Ricky Woods
Mike - with Table Topics cup - kindly donated by Belita - her father's Impromptu Cup 1963!


  1. Really sad to be missing so many meetings :(

  2. Well, the gremlins that have prevented us from posting comments have obviously decided they were up against a force too strong for them. I really hope this allows us to use the blog as a conversation point.