Thursday, 20 December 2012

Our Best Evening Ever


The last event for a Master Marketor is the Court Dinner where members of the Court and their partners, together with some other guests, gather for a final celebration of the Masters year. On this occasion it was at the delightful Watermans' Hall, a beautiful Georgian building set in the heart of the City. While the Company of Watermen was established in 1555 the present hall dates back to only 1780 but is the only original Georgian Hall in the City of London.    

So the setting was perfect for the forty six guests, a small intimate hall with narrow corridors, stone staircases, oak panelled rooms and a Dickensian atmosphere - perfect for the Christmas season. The dining hall had a large table laid out in a "U" shape. But what was the large object covered in a cloth and why the secret setting for a further six in another room?

The event started, as usual,with a reception, which is where we discovered that we were 46 and not 44 as thought. Fortunately the caterers, The Cook and Butler, took it in their stride and we were all soon sitting down to a seasonal dinner of goose. The Grace too was seasonal and also entertaining, but then it was one of Cannon David Meara's which I had taken from our Graces in Favour volume.

Following the meal and the Loyal Toast the Senior Warden, Sally Muggeridge, made a presentation to me of a beautiful engraved vase and then the Middle Warden, Roddy Mullin, presented an engrave bowl to the Mistress. Both depict views of London and both are wonderful memento's of an excellent and eventful year. Thank you to my Wardens.

And so it was my turn. Firstly I welcomed the guests and then our newer Court members, who were sitting either side of us on the top table. Then I offered thanks to a few key people. Firstly our Junior Warden, Michael Harrison, who had supported me so much through out the year and also managed so many major projects; and then our Assistant Clerk, Doreen Blythe, who had done so much even before the Clerks departure. (For those that want to read the whole thing, the presentation and script is at the end of this blog).

Now for the big surprises. My final thanks was to Brenda, the Mistress, who once spoke the words "in sickness and in health" never guessing that 44 years later they would come back to haunt her. During this year she has brought a new meaning the the phrase "stand by your man", and she has also stood by the Marketors. Her first surprise was the entrance of our two sons, Porter and Ben, laden with champagne and roses. They were followed by Ben's partner Amy and the producer and good friend Danielle Torento.

Now it was getting emotional, but there was more to come. The mysterious covered object was unveiled and the pianist Simon Beck sat at the keyboard. It looked like I was going to sing but no, Norman Bowman, our leading man in Mack & Mabel appeared at the door singing "I won't send roses" to Brenda, and the cabaret had begun. "Till there was you" from Music Man was followed by "Who's the man" from Witches of Eastwick, concluding with the "Soliloquy" from Carousel. A brilliant performance, which came as a complete surprise to all except the secret six and me.

Next followed a stirrup cup for those who did not have to dash off, and another chance to mingle. And so the revellers slowly drifted away, and we walked home in the rain, very happy.

This was truly the most memorable evening of the whole of the year. It was a heady mixture of good friends, close family and tremendous music. The perfect end to a very eventful year. A very sincere thanks from both of us to all who were a part of it.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Presentation and Script


Alderman, Wardens, Liverymen, Guests

Firstly, as this is the Court Dinner  I would like to welcome our special guests who include Jane Wharam, our Marketor publisher, and John Wheen our Chair of Events together with Barbara. I also welcome our newest Court members Leo Addis with Raffaella, and Richard Christau with Tasoulla who are beside us.
Marketors please stand and raise a glass to our guests. 
What a year. As someone I met recently described a previous year, annis horibalus, but mainly in our case it was an annis fantasticus. It has been a great honour, for both of us, to represent the Marketors. During our time we have learnt that this is not something you do alone.  Whether it is sub editors, committee members or your partner in support - you need others.

It would be invidious to select one or two of you for a mention  - so of course I will.  First to someone who is not allowed the special service award but is up there with the winners. In addition to giving me amazing support throughout the year, there was also the responsibility for the Lord Mayors Show, the inter livery Golf Tournament, Sponsorship, CIM Relations…. Can you guess who it is yet? Yes its Jeanne and Michael Harrison.

Then there is the Clerks office. At this point I would thank the Clerk but she is no longer with the Marketors, but deserves no less thanks, she would have been here but is in Spain with her husband and daughter. Which leaves me with the person who has never been just the support act; and certainly is not now - our Assistant Clerk Doreen Blythe.     

When Brenda spoke the words “in sickness and in health” she had no idea it would take 44 years for that to come back to haunt her. As you will have read in the Evening Standard, throughout March I was either in a coma or coming out of a coma.  During that time Brenda brought a new meaning to the phrase “stand by your man”. And so Brenda, your Mistress, stood by me, and indeed the Marketors, throughout the year.  This is such a big thank you, and I am not particularly good at presents, I felt I needed some help..

Gentlemen please.

(Our sons Porter and Ben enter with champagne and roses)

And the ladies… 

(Ben's partner Amy plus the producer and our friend Danielle Torento then enter)

 (ask Brenda to stand)

…..some times I am a little thoughtless, sometimes forgetful, there are even times when….

(Enter Norman singing "I Won't Send Roses" to Brenda)

The Script

Ladies and gentlemen Norman Bowman or as some of you already know him the marvellous Mack from
Mack and Mabel, together with the equally talented pianist Simon Beck”

I have prevailed on Norman to stay a bit longer. However when I tried to think of a number for him to do
there were so many that I got confused. So the next part is going to be a surprise for me.

So Norman, what did you go for

 “Well John, if you remember you gave me a choice

     “There was “Till There Was You” from Music Man the first show you played opposite each other.
     "She's To Far Above Me" from Half a Sixpence - Bea's first lead as Ann
     "Younger Than Springtime" or "Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific where she missed the
      lead because she couldn’t wash that man out of her hair several months pregnant.
     Or "Stars", "Drink With Me" or "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables  just because you all love the

(Norman chose to sing "Till there was you" from Music Man) 

N “John, you are sitting in a big chair and wearing bling. You want to explain that.”

J I have the honour of being this years Master of the Worshipful Company of Marketors, and Bea is the

N “Oh. So you’re the man”  

J Well yes… I suppose you could say that, but I do have a Court I have to report to

N “So who’s the man?”

J Oh wait, no, you can’t do that number. I mean firstly it is about the devil, and some might object, next it is
   a bit risqué – or in fact a lot risqué, and so ….  

   (Several of the guests insist (yes planted))

J Alright, but be it on your own heads – but it is not about me!

(Norman sings "Who's The Man" from Witches of Eastwick)

Finally there is one number I would love to hear for no special reason other than it is a tour de force for a leading man and I just want to hear it from Norman. Billy Biggalow’s big number from Carousel

(Norman sings "The Soliloquy" from Carousel)

Ladies and Gentlemen

Norman Bowman and Simon Beck

To close may I thank you all for coming and wish you a safe journey home

And for those that can delay the journey there is a stirrup cup awaiting you in the next room


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