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Historical note: Gordon Stuart was Bristol HHH GM and an experienced hasher, event organiser, hare and Scotsman. It was generally agreed on the day that, inexplicably, this was one of the worst runs ever set for Bristol HHH. At the time Fat Controller was the Hash Mag editor, or Edit Hare. Sadly, some would say, the old paper Hash Mag, from which this article is taken, has been superseded by the internet as a means of disseminating information. The other names mentioned were all regular hashers at the time. The article was written by Martin "Wolfie" Wolff.
The Fleece, Hillsley, Glos.
22 May 1988.
Hares: Gordon Stuart and Wendy Aplin.
It was pandemonium in the offices of The Bristol Hash Broadcasting Company!
Fat Controller stood in the centre of his empire, only just maintaining control, with a 'phone at each ear and three more on hold. Small rivulets of sweat were clearly visible amongst his carefully coiffeured chest hairs. His famous green visor was pushed, at an abnormally rakish angle, to the top of his head. His braces were dangling around his thighs.
"Reuters are coming through now, isn'it!" Richard Walters yelled from the bank of furiously clattering Telex machines [this was 1988 - ed].
"Get me Washington!" Fat Controller barked, in a voice that sounded as if he had been gargling with gravel.
Steve Flynn looked up and turned his ashen face towards us.
"Yer, we got a satellite window in five minutes time to Sydney!"
"Sidney who?" said Fat Controller, the strain beginning to show.
"Fuckin' Australia, daft cunt", mumbled Flynn.
"Oh, right." He looked around, desperately, his eyes falling on me. "Mart, there's no-one else; borrow a tie, get down to make-up, then into studio nine. You're on the air in five minutes!"
Before I could argue I was whisked away by Rob Newton who started dabbing at my forehead with a big powder puff.
"It's the lights, luv," he said, "plays havoc with that receding hairline, I should know, dear, got to be so careful with those big overhead floods, I've told them, but do they listen? Mmmm?" He put a little blusher on my cheeks.
"Oooh, dear, luv, do I see a few broken veins? You want to get something for that; see me after and I'll have a look in my little bag for you." He stood back. "That'll have to do! If they'd given me more notice I could have worked wonders; God knows what the Aussies will make of it!"
As I stood up he gave my hand a little squeeze.
"Good luck, I'll be rooting for you."
With that he rushed me into the television studio.
Tim Boyle, clipboard in hand and headphones around his neck, was waiting to escort me to the presenter's desk which stood in front of a large polystyrene "BH3", suspended from the gantry.
"Ok, studio", he shouted, "thirty seconds, please!"
Paul Stevens and Mike Walford, deep in conversations about the historic significance of glaciology in New York jewish humour, fixed a small microphone to my lapel, and inserted a sort of hearing aid into my ear.
Graham looked round from behind the camera.
"Yow gettin' some terrible hoiloits from that forehead, yow knows!"
"Oh, god!" screamed Boyle, "makeup, where's bloody makeup?"
Newton flounced in and came at me again with his puff.
"Five seconds, studio, thank you, quiet please."
Through my earpiece I could hear the production staff in the control room. Linda Moon was counting us in: "...three..two..one..run VT..music..going to camera one..cue Wolfie..camera one.."
Tim Boyle made an extravagent gesture as if starting the parents' race at a school sports day and I launched into my ill-prepared report.
"Good evening from Bristol, and, as the world reels from one of the biggest hash shocks of the decade, we ask: what went wrong? From our outside broadcast unit in Hillesley I think we can speak to the man everyone is talking about, Gordon Stuart. Gordon, are you there?"
"Catch a fallin' star an' put it in yer pocket...Hi there, Wolfie, can yer hear me?"
"Yes, Gordon, load and clear. Now Gordon, about the run..."
"Hey, you bastard, it's your round! I left my heart, doobie doobie doo, in San Francisco..."
"Rumour has it, Gordon, that today's run was without doubt the worst you, or anybody else, has set, certainly since the Suez crisis and possibly before. How do you feel?"
"Aah feel great! Aaam on tha piss! Let's all go down the Strand (have a banana...)"
I ploughed on: "And what plans do you have for the future, when all this is over?"
"Aaah wanna have yer babies, Wolfie, did I ever tell ya? My kinda town, Hillesley is..."
"Er, no, I don't think you did. Now Gordon, I understand Wendy, your co-hare, is still there with you; could I have a word with her, please?"
"No, you couldn't. She's a nice girl and won't talk to anyone until she's got her clothes back on. I respect that in a woman! And now a short medley from "Porgy and Bess": Summertime..."
"Well, viewers," I concluded, lamely, "there you have it. Controversy still surrounds today's events at Hillesley and will rage, I feel confident in predicting, for many weeks, months even, to come. Naturally, we will keep you informed of new developments as they happen, but, for now, this is Martin Wolff, BHBC News, Bristol, England."