Friday, November 25, 2011


This evening I was the MC for a winetasting fundraiser in Hong Kong. I did the same gig last year: a few hours standing on the top of some stairs, exhorting the wine drinking masses below to participate in auctions and lucky draws.

Last year I tried doing some comedy as well, but in a triangular garden bordered by roads, open to the sky, with me declaiming from the top of a set of steps, it wasn't the ideal venue. This time was a bit simpler, as I just had to announce the prizes, run an auction and introduce the band ... Run an auction? I haven't even got a hammer, or a man in a brown overcoat to wheel the auction items in and out.

Thus it was with some trepidation that I bullied some of the rich, posh types to purchase some wine, and a dinner with The King Of Truffles, some European bloke I'd never heard of (although I don't spend much time eating truffles, so I'm not proud of my ignorance). However, my auctioneering career came to a swift end when a wine merchant with a big face was brought up to auction off some booze. Since he managed to raise 100,000 dollars in five minutes, he was probably doing a better job than a slightly fey chap lisping into a microphone.

I was at a bit of a loose end after this, as it turned out I was now the man in the brown overcoat bringing things up to be auctioned. Not the glamourous life I was expecting, but never mind. I was surrounded by wine, my wife was there, and there was lots of wine.

Did I mention the wine?

I got over my relegation to second-assistant-moving-operative eventually, but as I don't drink on the job, I missed out on all the wine that every else was tasting. I did eat as many cucumber sandwiches as I could lay my hands on, only realising much later that this might be depriving the poor recipients of charity all the delicious bread-and-cucumber based sustenance they might deserve.

Which is confusing. I've been drinking wine since I got home to alleviate the pain of all those stairs, and pretty much everything is confusing.

Not as confusing as drinking red wine and listening to the Muppets sing Christmas songs with John Denver, but it's getting closer.

At least it's not Justin Bieber singing Little Drummer Boy with Busta Rhymes. I almost put my foot through the tv and sent the Government of Canada the bill.


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