After dinner speaking has been a profitable side-line for me. I am good at it. There are various secrets which I will not give away as I am much in demand. Yesterday a good friend of mine asked me to give a speech at his 60th birthday. Discounting my normal rate by 50 % I was only too happy to oblige him.
I was still disconcerted by my two razor scars, but my Italian barber recommended a facial cream I could obtain in one of the big stores. I duly went to Liberty where a most pleasant young black woman suggested she made me up to conceal the scars with a camouflage blush. It was a most enjoyable experience and, refusing payment, she readily accepted an invitation on my cabin cruiser currently moored in Brighton Marina.
The odd feature of any speech is the inconsistency of reception. Two of my better gags which were risqué bombed, but a couple of average one liners went down well. You have to know your audience but this is not always possible. I once went on a lecture tour to South Africa and, speaking one from last, used the line “The last time I spoke one from the last, there was only one person left. I asked him if we should continue. He replied “Certainly, I’m the last speaker.” This went done brilliantly in Johannesburg, but like a lead balloon in Durban.
There was a well known actress in the party who congratulated me on my speech. I said that, when I am up there with an audience in my thrall, it’s a feeling akin to a great acting performance being at the epicentre. I have often wondered if a career on the boards, rather than commerce, might have better maximised my talents.