Tuesday, 12 July 2016


I’ve just taken off my Bernie Clifton-stye inflatable horse costume, and I feel like I’ve let myself down.

Come on, it’s late, everyone’s in bed, I’m a little bit woozy on diet cokes and happy endorphins, and I had to tell my joke somewhere.

Me and my girl attended a special gig tonight. It was a Rockin’ Roadrunner Nightclub night in Northampton - a gig organised with and run for young people and adults with a range of disabilities. Star of the show was bazooka-bosomed Dolly Parton tribute act Kelly O’Brien.

We went with my daughter’s Prader-Willi Syndrome Best Friend Forever (PWSBFF) and the friend’s frankly-she’s-a-bad-influence-on-me mum. After a voucher-funded Pizza Express meal for four (discounted to the princely sum of £9), we hit the venue, I hit the loos and donned my battery-driven rodeo outfit, and we all hit the dancefloor.

It was a beautiful night. Dolly/Kelly was fantastic, interacting wonderfully with the eccentric and enthusiastic crowd. My girl, with her checked shirt on, and her red ear defenders, sang along happily to ‘Jolene’ and ‘9 To 5’, and I discovered all kinds of new, inflatably driven dance floor moves.

Facts I have learned: 
  • A duet with Rockin’ Roadrunners’ very own waywardly out-of-tune Crazy John standing in for Kenny Rogers can be better than the real thing, especially when Crazy John has the wherewithal to insist the crowd acknowledge his singing partner: “Ladies and gentlemen, Dolly Parton!”
  • A special needs crowd need no encouragement whatsoever to whoop it up in an almighty manner.
  • My daughter, confronted by the sight of two 12ft tall 'security guards' (very entertaining stiltwalkers who were part of the show), will still actually believe they were randomly tall policemen, despite any logical explanations you make in an attempt to convince her otherwise.
  • If you’re wearing an inflatable horse, people want to hug both you and the horse. Also, it takes exactly the length of ‘I Will Always Love You’ to negotiate going to the toilet, and it’s really not a good idea to re-inflate before you get out of the cubicle.
  • You can really fit an awful lot of joy in one place.
  • We’ll be back.
All you have to do is smile that smile
And there go all my defences
Just leave it up to you and in a little while
You’re messin’ up my mind and fillin’ up my senses

Video is Dolly Parton - Here You Come Again

The next Rockin' Roadrunner Club event is the free Seaside Festival music festival at Abington Park, Northampton, on Sunday 18 September. More details from their website, here.

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