The Tale of Alan Mitchell

Richard B Gillion
to commemorate Alan Mitchell's 65th birthday and retirement
celebrated at the Somerville Club in May 2006
In memory of Edward Alan Mitchell 1941-2015
I'll tell you t'tale of one Alan Mitchell
As terrorised t'Somerville Club here
How that friendly young man became such a fiend
Is a story that now you shall hear.

Alan played, sang or spoke with a glass by his side
At an angle just about to spill
"If I can't relax when I'm up here performing
I'll be jiggered to think t'audience will."

Then relating the Jubilee Sovereign
Some words went and entered his brain
And stuck there so Freud theorises
And for many a year there did remain.

"Albert took the coin back from his father
And performed the first part of the trick."
Were the words that filled him with comfort
Thinking he too were half way through t'stick.

His brain went into a siezure
He looked round at the women and men
Then he started again from t'beginning
And got stuck at t'same place once again.

From that day t'were a reg'lar occurence
The thought of being half way through t'piece
Sent his brain into a kind of a dither
And his memorial processes ceased.

"I'm terribly sorry," wailed Alan,
I've left you all hanging half through
Now you'll never know t'end of the story
And the suspense must be half killing you.

But folk were so kind and forgiving
And anyhow when all's done and said
They'd look it up on t'internet next morning
To see how t'tale turned out they read.

Then a wicked thought occurred to Alan
He'd cop 'em out this time for sure
And invented his own tale of Albert
As they'd never find on a world wide web viewer

'Twere The Twelve Tasks of Albert he called it
And the tale were engaging, that's true:
How he swam the himalayas and climbed t'Irish sea
And drank his own weight in home brew.

How he ran, rode and flew for a fair maiden's hand
And rest of her body to boot
And after six tasks Alan thowt now's the time
And reckoning to forget said, "Oh Shoot!"

The audience applauded, polite like, but cool
And Alan went back to his table
"Never mind lad," they said, "we'll find out for us-sen,"
Alan muttered, "I'll bet tha's not able."

The next week he turned up and laughed fit to bust
Thinking everyone there would be vexed,
But they smiled as they all had a go at the tale
And Helen said, 'Right-o, who's next?'

Not finding a word of the tale on the net,
They'd emailed each other with speed,
To arrange the next half of The Twelve Tasks of Albert
A competition had been agreed.

The winner would be greeted with rapturous applause
And to increase old Alan's gall,
He'd have to present t'winner wi' a right generous prize
And say sommat nice 'bout 'em an' all.

Well the winner were one of the members o't'club
Who recited the tale without fault
And added six more of the tasks he'd thought up
Which brought Alan up with a jolt.

Albert's six tasks left to make up the twelve
Were t'best ones you'll ever hear tell
How he drained t'floating harbour wi' nobbut a sieve
Scaled t'Cabot Tower dressed like Brunel,

Cooked, cleaned and scrubbed while minding ten kids,
Gave a lecture to twelve Oxbridge dons,
Wrote a song longer than any of James Gales',
And wore a hat bigger than Martin John's.

It were t'best tale he'd heard for many a year
And as the tale came to its end
Alan's brain was unlocked and his thoughts were released
And his memory started to mend.

He thanked the reciter with a hearty big hug
Gave him and his wife both a kiss
His thanks were so genuine, no trace of dismay
That the winner said "We didn't expect this!"

So now Alan's mellowed and retiring from work
Finds his mind is a fresh as can be.
"Pity those who stand up and forget half their words?
Not a chance," says old Alan, "it's not me!"

~ Stanley Holloway ~ Marriott Edgar ~ Cabot Tower ~ Floating Harbour

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