On Monday night I attended a Burns Supper with a difference, courtesy of the Monkey Shoulder Social Club. There was haggis, of course, and Scotch whisky too, but rather than Scotland’s favourite son taking centre stage, the star of this particular show was one Charles Montgomery Plantagenet Schicklgruber Burns, Sr. Oh, yes.
Monkey Shoulder, as I'm sure many of you will know, is a fantastic blended malt from William Grant that's made with whiskies from their three Dufftown distilleries: Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie.
The theme for the evening had been hiding in plain sight for some time as guests entered to win tickets to ‘A Celebrations of Mr Burns’, accompanied by a picture of Rabbie in a pair of shades that had apparently been enough to throw many off the scent. Upon arrival at The Caledonian Club, everything seemed perfectly above board... although... did I spot Groundskeeper Willy on my way up the street?.. Probably nothing, let’s just enjoy this Monkey Shoulder whisky punch (created by Roman Foltan of the Artesian Bar) in the library and speak to a couple of these nice people from the ‘Dufftown Burns Appreciation Society’.
Wait, is that Clem Fandango? Much more on Clem Fandango later...
Before too long, however, the newly-formed Dufftown Burns Appreciation Society revealed the true object of their affection...
Mr Burns: Celebrated industrialist and enemy of philanthropy.
“The man radiation cannot kill, and hate keeps alive!”
...whilst caricaturists provided us with some lovely and particularly flattering cartoon versions of ourselves.
Hmm... Well I have a pretty good idea what my Spitting Image puppet would look like now, if not my Simpsons character.
Can you tell who this one is? Why, it’s Graeme off of Edinburgh Whisky Blog!
(Apparently you can tell by the perfectly captured “receeders”.)
It was at this point that all hell broke loose. A siren went off – there had been a radiation leak! Serious stuff. As we were hastily evacuated from the room, hazmat suits were thrust in our direction! “Quick, quick! Get your suits on and head up the stairs!”
Precautionary medicine was handed out (I received a red pill – there was apparently no choice to have a blue one by this stage), and a chap with a Geiger–Müller counter gave us a once over. Now, I’m no expert on radiation detection – but I wouldn’t have let us through based on the noise it was making!
I think we’ll be safe in here... for now.
Mr. Burns’ beloved Power Plant and office, complete with appropriate taxidermy.
Having to place a protective all-in-one suit with legs over our clothes was no problem really – unless, that is, you’d decided to wear a kilt like Graeme had! Hilarity naturally ensued, but he somehow managed to both don the suit and maintain his dignity! (Sort of.)
There are probably better places for a sporran to dig in.
Ah, the menu. Useful, these paperweights.
After The Springfield Grace we enjoyed a starter of 3-eyed plutonium soup (poor Blinky!), followed by the main course of radioactive haggis, neeps and tatties! The Ode to The Radioactive Haggis being delivered by the shy and retiring (read: not shy and retiring) ‘Carolyn Cumhardy’...
Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe... Probably.
“...This wondrous pudding – food of Scots
With spuds and turnip boiled in pots
Has reached Springfield, and features lots
In Monty's diet
He swears on all his liver spots
That you'll enjoy it!
The recipe was under-rated
Now, that's all changed, it's been up-dated
Long Monty sat and cogitated
Upon his bony bum
Then cried, 'We'll have it irradiated
His staff were served this 'Becquerelo'
Despite its radioactive halo
And Monty's such a persuasive fellow
They forced it down
It's little wonder folk are yellow
In Springfield town...”
Immortal Memory to Mr Burns was then delivered by ‘Chris Rodney Ramsay’, whilst the Ode to the ever-loyal Waylon Smithers (“Wouldn’t it be great to have your own walking organ bank?”) came from ‘Angela Clementine Bunt’, who also appeared to be the victim of a number of prank calls ("Hey everybody, I wanna Seymour Butts"). For dessert? Lard Lad Donuts, of course!
Lard Lad? I guess he finally got the all clear from those health inspector, huh?
Naturally, we also had some more Monkey cocktails, including a lovely Rob Roy, a refreshing Mamie Taylor and an Artists Special (Monkey Shoulder, Montillado Sherry, Lemon Juice and Redcurrant Syrup).
After dinner it was then time to play some of Monty Burns’ favourite party games, including A Moose Loose Aboot this Hoose (you had to shoot it) and Release The Hounds!
There’s a moose loose aboot this hoose!
Release The Hounds was to take the form of a race on all fours that pitted Graeme against Clem Fandango!
(The lady with the excellent hair and hat in the foreground is Kat from Whisky Discovery.)
Now, I’ve since realised that the chap in question here (I’ll reveal who he actually is in a sec) possibly doesn’t look that much like Stephen Toast’s voice-over booth, work experience nemesis Clem Fandango, but once you think you’ve seen something, it’s hard to un-see it...
“Yes, I can hear you Clem Fandango!”
Having raced around the room twice on all fours (remember, he was still wearing that kilt - although he’d ripped the legs off of his suit by this stage) Graeme was crowned champion of Release the Hounds!
In keeping with the theme, he even got some Burns. From the carpet, that is. Ouch!
Which leads us neatly on to the after dinner entertainment – music from Third Degree Burns! The risk of contamination by this point, we were told, was minimal. It was safe to venture back downstairs.
Some excellent tattoos on display...
It was here that I managed to finally speak to Clem Fandango, who turned out to be none other than Paul Graham, formerly of Bramble Bar, now Bar Manager at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen!
It’s Paul Graham! And he’s really tall!
Inevitably perhaps, having left our protective suits and the Power Plant/Mr Burns' office behind and returned to more quintessential Caledonian Club surroundings, the evening ended with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne.
Never gets old this one.
Graeme just about managing to hold Carolyn Cumhardy at a safe distance there.
A dramatic exit – we were even trusted with sparklers!
If I had to sum up my Burns Supper and Burns Night experience for 2014, I’d have to say it was “Excellent...” - Thank you, Monkey Shoulder Social Club!
Although, personally, I’d have ended with this song:
There is a man...