It occurs to this scribe that Speakers’ Corner has something in common with professional wrestling.
Like most young lads of the early 1970s, on Saturday and Sunday I would watch Mario Milano, Spiros Orion, Killer Karl Kox and a few other big guys pummel each other with fists, elbows, body slams and chairs, as well as employ the odd foreign object they had hidden in their trunks.
The toughest of them all was a skinny, balding guy called Alan Pinfold. He had the charisma of a lettuce sandwich. In his entire wrestling career he never won a match. He was invariably slammed, jumped on, brain-busted, drop-kicked and thrown from pillar to post. It may have been choreographed but the punishment he took was real.
And then there was Jack Little, the announcer. He was an ageing twig in a suit and his commentary was limited to three phrases:
‘Don’t touch that dial.’
‘Wam, bam, thank you, M’am.’
‘Anything could happen, and it probably will.’
But I digress.
Sometimes there were tag-team wrestling matches, in which two teams of two would face each other. One wrestler from each team would compete, and when one wrestler had had enough he would tag his mate to take his place. Skull Murphy and Brute Bernard come to mind. They were the most vicious, malicious, violent, savage and irresponsible tag-team partnership to enter the squared circle, because simply, they were deranged.
Today at Speakers’ Corner I was reminded of the tag team wrestlers. A lame-brained heckler would come along and pester me, and eventually I’d get rid of him, but another would immediately take his place. I didn’t see them tag, but they must have; their timing was perfect. All day, we speakers were taking on tag-team hecklers.
They were deranged, too. Not in the way Skull Murphy and Brute Bernard were deranged, thank goodness, but deranged just the same. In their own peculiar way they bring the word to life.
Speakers’ Forum is back, with mixed success. Or, to be more accurate, with no success. However, we will be trying it again next week, with modifications. (Speakers’ Forum is when the speakers take turns at the podium to speak for five minutes, uninterrupted. They then take questions.)
As you can see from the video, Peter was one of the speakers, and he took a question from Mirko.
Why not come along this coming Sunday and listen to the speakers in the forum? Anything could happen, and it probably will.