virtual thrash reach 365
You would have thought that after 364 daily sessions of the Zoom Virtual Thrash group, that perhaps people might have had enough. You would though be grossly misjudging both the staying power of the Zoomers and the creative talent of the Virtual Thrash administration team of Suzanne McIntosh, Simon Rose and Matthew Richards. For when the 365th consecutive session came around on Saturday 20 March, no less than 160 people turned up on over 140 screens to celebrate what has now become known as the first Zoomiversary! The Zoomiversary coincided with our attempt to set not one, but two Guinness World Records. Suzanne submitted our claims to Guinness that we are the longest continual Ukulele Virtual Thrash and that we are the largest group of Virtual Thrash players playing the music of George Formby. Introduced by Suzanne and hosted by Simon and with Matt organising the music, the night was one long party, a celebration of one year of Formby thrashes and all organised by those three very clever and dedicated people. It was a night full of surprises, who would have expected celebrity comedian Harry Hill to show up and stay with us for the whole evening? The Mayor of Blackpool, Amy Cross was also with us and cut the virtual ribbon. Guest video clips were played and included one from the Chairman of the GFS, Stephen Langford and we also had a nice message from the Imperial Hotel General Manager, Alison Gilmore, expressing the hope that we would all be back at a convention before too long. Simon Rose revealed that contact had been established with Her Majesty The Queen after he took the trouble to write her and tell Her Majesty all about the Formby Thrash activities. Suzanne then (in her lovely, best Edinburgh accent) read the Queen’s letter out to all the Zoomers. Frank Skinner appeared, courtesy of his smartphone and sent us a very sincere message all about the thrash. Frank is a genuine Formby lover and obviously a member of the GFS, a totally decent bloke! Founder member John Walley was in attendance for the party, but also sent in a video message. John is always worth listening to and when the subject is George Formby and the GFS, his words are like little gems in one of the Queen’s many Royal crowns! Andrew Pepper and Peter Pollard also sent in video messages and we also viewed long-term member Derrick Pearce, dressed resplendently in the South American George kimono which Derrick’s dad bought at the Beryldene auction. Simon asked Derrick if he had any other Formby memorabilia and as well as revealing that he had the full-piece bathing costume used by George in the film, Keep Fit, he also declared that he owned George’s vest and silk underpants! Simon got the best laugh of the night when enquired if Derrick was actually wearing them! As if all the guests and the video clips were not enough (this is after all the Virtual Thrash and thrash we did) we were accompanied by the brilliant Matt Richards as he continually wandered into no-man’s land above the first four frets on a banjo-uke. The place where I for one have never ventured but on the positive side, neither did George Formby! Not only did we all enjoy the manic confusion of Matt’s magical left hand, he had also arranged via vintage live video performances for George Formby himself to turn up and to join in five of the evening’s thrash tunes. We even finshed with fireworks! The many UK members were also joined by regulars from various locations in the USA, Canada, Germany, Cyprus, Holland, and one dear lady got out of bed at 6:00 AM in Australia to join us in her pyjamas! GFS Chairman Stephen Langford’s final words closed the meeting but the Zoomers like to chat (and to drink) so the evening carried on until quite late. The night was full of magic and memories and nostalgia both for the conventions that we have missed and the hope that (as John Walley pronounced in his video message), we will return! PP 30/03/2021
Zoomers Celebrate in Style!