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Sunday, September 02, 2007

You never know who you're going to bump into at a beard competition...

Nick Cave!
I've met Nick Cave! I'd rather he hadn't signed his name over Glen Ferris from the Argus (whose autograph I didn't get), but you can't have everything. With hindsight I should have offered him the cover of my programme, but I kinda expected him to write neatly next to his own name, not scrawl over the entire bottom half of the page. Celebrities - they're so out of control.

Anyhoo, yesterday was possibly the most surreal day of my life. It's not every day you see Nick Cave sitting next to a BBC local radio DJ judging a moustache contest with Miss Brighton. But enough about the judges. Here's Jesus looking on as Moses picks his nose...

Love One Another
If you're not sure who's who, Moses is three to the left of Fidel Castro.

As for Jesus, he may be the King of Kings, but Moses wiped the floor with him in this competition. Although ultimately they were both beaten by Gandalf.

Anyhoo, our day at the 2007 World Beard and Moustache Championships (there's a phrase I never thought I'd write) started at 11am outside Brighton town hall, where we had a few hairy moments wading through the whiskered, meeting Beard Team USA, and witnessing a major German invasion from the beardlands of Bavaria. WG Grace was there, as was Salvador Dali, but I'm pleased to say that the man Lisa thought was Osama Bin Laden, was actually the founder of Transcendental Meditation. Although they do look alike.

Bidding farewell to the follicled for a while, we headed off for lunch, before returning to the Brighton Centre at 1pm for the start of the championships. We were still there at 9pm. I have never known a day like it. By mid-afternoon there were two thousand people in there, most of them under 25, most of them getting drunk, and all of them getting more excited about beards than you could possibly imagine. The organisers released more tickets, but by the time they'd reached the capacity of 2,300 Lisa and I couldn't leave the building for five minutes without being accosted by hair-hungry people outside, desperate to get their hands on our tickets.

Is that a spider on your lip?You could have someone's eye out with that.
He has to walk through doors sideways.
By late afternoon the beer was flowing and people were screaming for moustaches more than they screamed for The Beatles (who, judging by yesterday's evidence, clearly weren't bigger than Jesus). The party atmosphere was so intoxicating that by 8pm Lisa and I were jumping up and down in the south balcony singing Jimmy Edwards' Bushy Mush song, shouting "Go Moses!" and whooping for a yodelling German with a seagull on his head. And we hadn't even had any alcohol.

And the crowd goes wild.
I have to say, when I bought the tickets I wasn't expecting Lisa and I to be among the oldest people there, but for some reason every twenty-something beer-drinking party animal in Brighton seemed to have turned up for a facial hair competition. And not only that, they were loving it. It was all quite infectious. And if it wasn't for the fact that the next one is in Alaska in 2009, I'd be chucking out my razor and booking a place now.