Marketeers cc 40th Anniversary
Dinner and Dance
was held at the Chilton Trinity School in May 2000
The Information below was Taken from the 40th Anniversary booklet
THE DEFINITIVE SOAP OPERA
SOAP SUDS AND ALCOHOL
By Garry Chidgey
The scriptwriters for classic soap opera entertainment are always
looking for new ideas and interesting themes. The theory is to compel
viewers into watching their creations and to keep the plot simmering
enough so that viewers will keep watching, and listening to what in
the main are tales of
every day life, of normal run of the mill folk, living in their
own environment with all the individual trials and tribulations that
run along side the characters.
From what I have seen of many of the soaps on offer today
I can only suggest that an element of staleness has drifted into many
of the beloved programmes, admired by the masses and despised
by the more cultural critics within media entertainment.
I have often wondered where the scriptwriters for these programmes
get their story lines, and upon investigation it appears the B.B.C.
and I.T.V. in
particular have set up forums where the actual scriptwriters sit
down with a congregation of personnel to discuss and to generate topical
interesting story lines. I suppose it would be fair to
say that some of the more popular soaps have had some classic television
moments. Remember when poor Tiffany was flattened by Frank, and when
Ken Barlow connected a right hook with Mr. Mike "slimy"
Baldwin. Apart from moments like this it is essentially the same old
stuff over and over again.
Bringing this theme forward into the carnival perspective, it is interesting
to find that we have a lot in common with the dear old soap opera.
I can only speak for the Marketeers C.C. but is it not interesting
when you look back over the years and drag up the memories, that you
find there entrenched in the past, a whole range of characters that
have contributed towards our own little soap opera. Some of the story
lines that have been thrown up over the past years would have provided
more than enough material to keep a soap interesting, and basically
a script writer securely in employment.
The Rovers Return, or is it the Old Market next door to the Queen
Vic, or is it the White Hart. The common link is the dear old local.
The congregation of the central characters link uncannily to the dear
The church of carnival is, one has to say, the chapel of the beer
keg, where falling down water and the packet of crisp is the holy
communion of the traditional Marketeers. (And many other carnival
And as the Marketeers head into their filth decade it is with a sense
of pride and satisfaction that I myself can look back at over 22 years
of my involvement with a club that has firmly stamped itself into
the annals of carnival history.
Of course one particular member has been there from the start and
is still going strong, if not a little slower these days. Chunk (the
punk) Dunster who proudly sits on the backbenches and heckles from
afar is still a maim contributor to the fabric of the club. It must
be interesting for Gerard (chunk's real name) to recall all the changes
of personnel that have passed through the club over the 40 years.
We have had our fair share of characters, some still with us some
sadly not. But the contribution of all the past members has been recognised
and gratefully received
Fangs for the Memories.
Whilst reminiscing about the past I must apologise that the following
memoirs account for the last 22 years of the total 40 the Marketeers
have been in existence. I am sure that a certain Mr. Dunster could
help me out for the first 18 years. However the last 22 years hold
enough soap operatic material to enthral the masses and frighten the
My earliest recollection with the club is walking into the Market
House/valiant Soldier (now Remedies Bar) as a new member. I can recall
Paul Elson and Dave Bell who were playing darts carefully surveying
a potential new member. A very young Andrew Bawden informed me that
before I became a member, I would be interviewed by the Club Secretary
(Rod Stoodley). What I hear you cry an interview to join a Carnival
Oh yes, how times have changed, the club did indeed at that time conduct
interviews to assess potential new members. Anyway I passed my audition
and entered the world of the M.C.C.
It was the year of the "Horr-ient Express"
and the 1st ever stage win for the club with "X.Cert".
Interestingly enough in that year I was cast as a Dracula character
with 11 other of the younger members. It was during the summer that
the 12 of us sat in a dental surgeons waiting room to have dental
casts taken so the counts famous fangs could be moulded to the gums
of the prospective vampires. Trying not to giggle with a mouth full
of polyfilla was a chore and a half. Adrian Clapp had failed miserably
in this task and as the tears rolled down his cheeks the harder it
was for the rest of us to keep control. Any way the fangs were all
fitted and the club walked away with the White Hart Cup on stage.
Not so good on the cart results but a magical result at Weston super
Mare resulted in the club not winning the non-winners cup.
Which at the time, the club had a phobia against winning.
How we achieved that highly recommended 4th place at Weston was
quite intriguing as the W.S.M. Carnival has never awarded the Highly
recommended 4th place position since.
I have often wondered if this result was anything to do with a certain
Mr Stoodley who was seen at the Winter Gardens lobbying the carnival
judges at the rear of the hall. But surely the club could not stoop
that low would it?
The following year was another reasonably successful year with "Splendour
of the Aztecs". The idea came from Tarry Picket and the club picked
up 2nd both on stage and road. Again 2nd places were gained on the
road on the county circuit and a joint first place with Vagabonds
at Weston unfortunately robbed Vaggies the chance of winning the County
Cup. This of course was back in the bad old days of carnival politics,
which have thankfully gone away. (Whom am I trying to kid)? Events
that year other than the actual carnival activities stuck in the mind
as Steve Paynters stag night in Illminster. Hands up all those of
you who can remember Dave Stone (Hummer) drinking disgusting fluid
substances from his beloved stein glass on the return coach journey.
It was also the year that gave birth to the now famous annual Marketeers
cricket trip to see Somerset in action, And what a first trip that
was. All dressed in smocks a hoard full of Marketeers headed to Lords
to watch Somerset play in the Gillette Cup semi final. Highlights
of the day were the sound of the last post echoing around the ground
played by Dave Stone on his bugle every time an opposition wicket
fell. Another was Chunky Dunster's one-man invasion running across
the pitch whilst play was still going on. Richie Benaud recorded the
moment beautifully live on telly when he announced "we have an
Idiot on the pitch". A young Greg Dunster cried at home watching
the TV. Quick mum dads on the telly"." Don't he deft"
replies Suzette as she wanders into the front mom to see a man on
the box perform a tumble on the hallowed grass of lords, and as his
hat fell of revealing the flesh coloured beacon Suzette realises that
yes indeed that head could only belong to one man.
It was just as entertaining after the match with yours truly walking
around London with a dead cat slung over my shoulder. Bob Tozer decided
to step offs London bus going along the Edgware Road. No harm in that
except the bus was travelling 30 miles per hour! After approximately
15 somersaults later Bob got up, dusted himself down and said, "Right
where are we going for a drink".
The Clubs First ever
winning stage show
(White Hart Cup)
The best sight after the match was Chunk having a rollicking for running
across the pitch, what made the event even better was the fact that
the rollicking came from Sir Garfield Sobers. (Absolutely true, would
I tell a lie)?
The cricket trips are now well embedded into the Marketeers yearly
calendar. And though many trips were memorable that 1st year was the
pinnacle of madness, which has not been surpassed. Other memorable
moments are captured below which are worth a mention.
THE MARKETEERS CRICKET TRIP HALL
1. Lords aging 1983. Greg Daughton and another who shall remain nameless
try to break into the Lords long room and steal the ashes. Didn't
get the ashes but managed to get 8 trays of cakes and sandwiches.
2. Hove 1989. Adrian Horne falling asleep in the stands under a pile
of newspapers, Then Mike Smith setting the papers on fire. Later that
day 20 naked Marketeers seen running around Brighton promenade.
3. Trent Bridge 1988. After the winning run hit by Vic Marks yours
truly in a. drunken stupor following Vic right into the Somerset dressing
room only to reappear minutes later on the balcony flanked with Viv
Richards and Joel Garner on either side of myself (please let me have
my moment of nostalgia)
4. Bath 1990. The Marketers interviewed live on Sky TV. dressed as
Soon after, Gandhi went swimming in the Beer Tents' (by then overflowing)
Rainwater Butt when rain stopped play. (In fact as I recall, play
didn't even begin!)
5. Glamorgan 1992. The Marketeers goes to Wales dressed as Morris
Daryl Taylor posing as the manger of the Morris Men, he gets the whole
lot into the ground for nothing under the pretence we were half time
It is possible to go on and on about the cricket trips with many other
amusing moments, but we must move on.
OF THE RAT JACKET
Black Friday must appear to the uninitiated as some kind of tribal
ritual that allows grown adults to behave in various kinds of modes.
The general drunkenness is tempered with adolescent type behaviors
and the acceptance that dressing up in unusual clothing is acceptable.
I believe it is fair to say that to any person in and around the town
of Bridgwater on Black Friday would spy the odd red fury jacket.
The beloved Rat Jacket as it is known has become the trademark
of the Marketeers and has been with us since 1979. The story behind
the birth of the Rat Jacket evolves around 2 members at that time,
one being Steve Wood and the other a young Martin Hodge. Punk
rock was in it's prime that year and the younger members led by
Steve were heavily into the punk scene. So much so that trips
to Bristol were often made to see top punk bands live. Out of
all these bands there is no doubt that that Steve had a particular
favorite which was the Boomtown Rats led by the irrepressible
As Steve was the figurehead for the younger element of the club, a
generalisation began to take form from the senior members when talking
about the youngsters. Before to long most of these youngsters were
christened the Boomtowns.
This terminology was derived as a pure link to the ringleader's obsession
with the Boomtown Rats. It was just approaching carnival season that
year when Martin Hodge approached many of the Boomtowns with an idea
he had formulated.
It appeared that Martin's mother Wendy was quite adept with the needle
and cotton. And somehow Martin convinced his mother to knock up some
The design was quite simple, based upon a part costume from the "Xanadu"
idea. But instead of the blue furry material notorious with "Xanadu"
, it was decided the red material would give the jacket it's own
identity. Enter Mr Woods who added the quirk of the Boomtown Rats
motif emblazoned across the back of the finished article.
Approximately 20 jackets were made embroidered with each young
members name. All this work was achieved under a cloak of secrecy
away from the senior members. It was the first Sunday of concerts
1979 that as usual the Marketeers made an early start drinking
at the Valiant Soldier. It became apparent that all at once the
younger element of the club disappeared. All those members headed
towards the secret stash of jackets stored at a location in behind
Town Hall. And as the Jackets were donned the triumphant throng
flocked back to the Valiant in full chorus of some disgusting
rugby song. Low and behold the Rat Jacket was born. It is now
tradition that as new members join a Rat Jacket is made and long
may it continue.
WE ARE MILLWALL; NO ONE LIKES US WE
On the carnival scene the club went through a purple patch of results
both on the Road and on the Stage. Winning the road with the Chelsea
Pensioners was the start of the period that saw a successful streak
in a short period of years. The double was achieved twice with "Land
of Make Believe" and "Just Clowning Around". It was
during this period that the club began to get the tarnish of Manchester
United syndrome. There is a trait amongst this nation of ours to knock
successful people or functions if they are perceived to be top of
the pile. I believe the Marketeers went through a stage such as this
around the time the club was having good success on the carnival front.
I always think back to the period when we were coming out of the purple
patch most symptomatic when the club did Christmas.
That year the club gained 2nd both on stage and the road. A very successful
year one would think, however it was for me very amusing to see the
reaction of the other carnival club fraternity about the perception
that the Marketeers had been knocked off the proverbial perch. At
the Bridgwater presentation dinner that year it appeared that every
speech made by the Gangs and Features clubs had a pop at the Marketeers.
Now personally I found a lot of the remarks amusing and flattering.
But what did amaze me was the fact that the overall perception was
that we were as a club crying in our beer about not winning?
This scenario puzzle's me more than anything, as one thing I can honestly
say about the club is that I have never experienced in my time the
club crying about the results.
I would go on to say the complete opposite has been apparent on a
number of occasions, as socially, I believe the club is one of the
best around for having a good time. I think it is Fair to say that
Black Friday for the club would not be tire same if we were ever to
win the Road again. The Black Friday tour is special to the club and
to be firmly entrenched at the headquarters for the day would somewhat
go against the grain.
It is now over a decade that the club has not won the road you would
think that Manchester United syndrome would not apply anymore. But
low and behold it does still appear to be affecting the club even
Therefore my interpretation is that we never had Manchester United
syndrome in the first place but indeed Millwall syndrome.
As the song says, "No one likes us, we don't care" springs
to mind. Actually we probably don't care. The club does and will go
on enjoying it self whilst doing the best we can on both Road and
The club getting disqualified on the road within the rules was not
enough to send us into tears, but if that thought about the sobbing
provides comfort for others then it is a cross we will probably have
The Final Episode In This Series
As we enter a new millennium the Marketeers are looking strong and
well equipped to take the club forward. The last ten years leading
up to 2000 has been a testament to the resolve of the club, not much
success but hanging in there. 1999 was a particular rough year for
the club as membership fell and the finances were not too rosy.
However recognition that the club was struggling a touch has refocused
the many out there who hold the M.C.C. in their hearts, and it is
inspiring to see many of the old faces coming back to strengthen the
club once again.
It is difficult to identify what the next ten years may hold. I suppose
a Headmaster marking his pupil could use the words " has a lot
of potential, and could do better" and I feel that this is the
current situation regarding the M.C.C.
1985 Just Clowning
The 'nearly' club may well become the 'have done' club. One thing
for sure is that the main players in the soap opera will be leading
the role in driving the club forward. It is after all one big episode
of interactive characters playing out their own creative production.
Characters are what the game is all about. The interesting factor
is that we have a strong element of youngsters breaking through into
the major roles within the club. In a way the resemblance of the current
club compared to the club I first joined is not at present too dissimilar.
The soapsuds have not gone pop yet and I do not think they will. We
have a long way to go to beat the longevity of the folk from Coronation
Street but I believe ours is a Ear more interesting story line with
stronger forged characters and with more potential for the unexpected
'THE, "GRAND SLAM" YEAR,
Without doubt this year was and remains to this day the most successful
that this or for that fact any other Club has experienced. The Marketeers'
Entries: "A Dream Come True" (Stage) and "Land of Make
Believe" (Cart) walked away with EVERY Trophy available to a
Feature Club at the time, including all the various County Individual
"Choice" Category Awards throughout the Carnival circuit,
a feat yet to be emulated by any other. It goes without saying that
many Clubs have benchmarked from the Marketeers over the years and
with much success, We as a Club have, over the past forty years seen
many individuals come, go and remain, many of whom, whose names crop
up occasionally in the odd tale, that may be at times quite unbelievable.
But if you shave off the slight exaggeration or two they have accumulated
over the years they are still as hilarious or inspirational as ever.
Of those names, there are individuals who were, or indeed may still
be, of great influence within the Club, both founder and more recent
members alike. It is to these people, some sadly no longer with us,
that we pay tribute, for without their inspiration, vision and sheer
dedication I am sure the Marketeers Carnival Club would not be the
successful Club that it is today and we hope, well into the future.
© GARRY CHIDGEY 2000
Marketeers Carnival Club would like to thank the following people
for their hard work, help & assistance in making this evening
The 40th Anniversary Dinner Committee:
Peter J Nicholls
The Bar Staff
Chilton Trinity School
Kay & Andy
Apologies to anyone omitted your efforts are greatly appreciated
40th Anniversary Souvenir Programme Designed & Published By
Jon Horsey ©