The Rotary Club member responsible for the “speaker slot” at the lunchtime meeting last Wednesday was Alastair Morgan.
Members had been advised the previous week that his speaker was to be Vern Cotter, the Scotland rugby team coach. When the meeting started, there was no sign of the speaker and it was announced that, as he had failed to appear, Alastair would speak himself, despite the short notice.
Alastair then went on to give a very entertaining talk about the history of April Fool’s Day and about a number of April Fool jokes which there had been in the media.
He included the naturalist David Bellamy announcing the discovery of gigantic footprints on the shore of Loch Ness, declaring it had now been proven that Nessie was a dinosaur, the BBC hoax film of flying penguins discovered in Antarctica, the left-handed whopper launched by Burger King in a marketing campaign (and resulting that day in numerous requests for the new product), the well-known television astronomer Patrick Moore announcing on BBC Radio 2 that, due to an unusual alignment of planets, Earth would have a temporary reduction in the gravitational pull and people would stay longer in the air when they jumped (and people phoning in to say that they had experienced this), a seven-page supplement published in The Guardian about the semi colon-shaped islands of San Serriffe, situated somewhere in the Indian Ocean with two main islands named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse and a broadcast on Sweden’s one television channel by the station’s technical expert telling viewers that they could manually convert their black and white sets into colour by covering the screen in a nylon stocking. It appears that thousands of people gave it a try and, of course, there was the BBC documentary about the Swiss spaghetti harvest.
And the missing speaker? He had not actually been invited to speak. Alastair reminded members of last Wednesday’s date - this was an April Fool’s day hoax on club members. Vote of thanks was proposed by Rotarian Bill Allan.