Bruce Lawson’s personal site

The perils of dressing as Satan

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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:

Bruce, dressed as a devil, poking a pitchfork into Chris Mills' stomach, who's dressed as an angel

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.

4 Responses to “ The perils of dressing as Satan ”

Comment by Leanne J

That is one of the best awkward stories I’ve ever heard! 😀 I can only imagine their faces.

I thought it worked well for DIBI, we were all up for a laugh and some of the most memorable presentations have a dash of good humour, which yours certainly did. A good way to show people the salient points of the argument for web standards, I think. Well done, and it was lovely to meet and chat to you afterwards 🙂

Comment by Bruce

Thanks Leanne. As you said, we were trying to make what could have been a rather “worthy” points a bit more memorable. We’re glad it worked.

Good to meet you too!

Comment by Ruth Ellison

What a delightful story. The expressions on the vicars’ faces sounds like a ‘priceless’ moment.

The web angel/devil method of presentation sounds like a good idea too! Is the presentation online some where?

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