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It was my privilege to present at Dibi Conference in Gateshead this week, where I performed as the Web Devil against Chris Mills’ Web Angel. This photo by @fuselagetown shows that I looked menacing and rather dashing:
This was the second time I’ve dressed as the devil. The first time was as a young man, and I used to do volunteer work at my local theatre. In order to raise money, we would offer a singing telegram service by volunteering our time for free and using the theatre’s extensive costume store.
That’s how I found myself in a car, fully-costumed as Satan with red makeup on my face and a false goatee beard, driving to a pub in the Worcestershire countryside to sing Happy Birthday to a woman in a pub.
I stopped to ask a somewhat puzzled local where the pub was – a mile down there, on the right – and raced into the pub, desperate for a pee.
As I was wrestling with my costume (you try standing at a urinal in a one-piece jumpsuit with a zip up the front) the man at the next pot asked me, “Are you with the church?”. Of course I am, I replied, to help his joke along. “They’re in that door across the corridor” he told me.
Naturally assuming he was part of the party who had booked a singing devil for their friend Lisa’s birthday, I flung open the door, roared and waved my pitchfork – to find about 20 vicars in dog collars sitting behind remains of a meal and listening to a speech by one of their number, with facial expressions ranging from amused, to shocked, to angry.
I was unsure quite what had happened – but it was evident that the room was Lisa-less, so I apologised repeatedly and obsequiously and backed out of the room with considerably less gusto that I had entered it.
In the public bar, the barman (who was the helpful man in the toilet) told me that the pub I was supposed to be at was a quarter of a mile further down the road. I quickly got back in the car and completed my journey.