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The End Of Sparky

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“Thank you all so, so much. You have made every night I’ve been here a special experience.”
Sparky, closing speech, 6th March 2004
What a splendid morning it is. The birds are singing, the trees are swaying, and my Student Loan Repayment Notification announced itself on
my doormat.
Still, Saturday night, the Last Encore, was a corker. Over the years, the Open Mike night at the Cranley Hotel has evolved into a one-man show, with others filling in admirably when the main man needs a rest. “Sparky” is that main man, and the emotional end last night was a fitting tribute. We’d prepared for the slaughter – Shunta had made special personalised Last Encore t-shirts for the male half of the group, and rooms were booked in the hotel, so at the end of the hazy night all we had to do was climb the stairs to welcoming beds.

Jac, Shaun and others filled in during the night, while the rest of us (Michelle, Alex, Siobhan, Sophie and Debs) found the alcohol slipped down our throats splendidly, in exactly the same way a set of razor blades wouldn’t. By around ten o’clock, Jac and I were muttering bizarre conversations (“My rooms has a four poster bed, without the four posts.” “So it?s a bed then.”) The climax (as it were) came (so to speak) at around 11.30, when Sparky finished off (stop it with the double entendres, will you) with his trademark chest-thumping acapella version of “Oh Lord, Won’t You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz”. It was an amazing moment, caught for posterity by Michelle’s new digital camera (videos and pictures will be up soon).
So that?s it. No more Sparky. What will Cranleighans do now of a Saturday night?
Update: Photos are now online.

Open Mike – the final farewell

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“All good things must come to an end.”
Anon.
Devastating news – the Open Mike night at the Cranley Hotel is coming to an end, and the finale is this Saturday. Years of fun we’ve had there, singing the old classics, more often with a fine acapella finale of “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz”.
Everyone’s welcome for a rousing send off – click here for a map if you’re in the area. I’ll be the tall, loud one at the front. It’ll be great. Here’s a little missive from Jac:
Dear All

And so that sad time has come, that announcement that we feared might one day materialise has cropped up, that news that we never expected to hear but knew deep down that it was inevitable has arrived, yes, open mic night in the Cranley Hotel is to cease from 6th March.

Having provided us with music every Saturday night without fail for almost four years, Sparky will turn his attentions to fatherhood and leave the weekend entertainment to the pub landlord. As all of you know, Open Mic night has been the source of many-an-amusing scene and countless antics have occurred on such occasions. This truly is a historic announcement.

It is very sad to see the Open Mic evening disappear from the entertainment calendar, but times change and new approaches to entertaining Joe Public need to be made. However, since we have become so fond of Open Mic night over the years and since we have so many fond memories of Saturday nights in the Hotel, I think it our duty to give Sparky and the final Open Mic night the send off it deserves.

I am therefore inviting you to attend Open Mic ‘The Final Encore’ at the Cranley Hotel on Saturday 6th March. Please do try to attend and show your support for Sparky and the work and effort he has put in over the years to keep us entertained.

I hope to see you there.

Jac