Archive Article: 2000/05/12

12 May 2000

Mark – the Young Farmer

MARKS not happy. Hes back at work and, though its nearly a fortnight since Blackpool, he still hasnt recovered. He had four hours sleep in the whole three days – two of them on the beach. It would have been longer but the tide came in.

Mark travelled to the Young Farmers Annual Convention with a group of fellow club members. It was a long, uncomfortable journey, made only slightly more bearable by the eight cans of Boddies.

It was the second time Mark had been to a convention in Blackpool. "Whats it like?" people asked. "Like Ibiza, but cold," he told them.

It was, too. Music blaring from pubs and clubs along the seafront, bouncers on every door. Blackpool had to be about the only place, he reckoned, where DJs still played Right Said Fred. And it went down well.

Mark hasnt missed a convention since he was 15. Thats 10 years ago. He remembers them all. Well, he doesnt remember any of them in precise detail – theyre all a vague blur of rude T-shirts, fancy dress and party breasts.

He was determined to go to this one. It was his first weekend off for three months. A chance to let his hair down and forget about potatoes. Except, that is, when debating "the missing margin" with the bloke in the chippy.

The first thing Mark and his mates did when they arrived was put on a pair of party breasts. Then they went to the hotel bar. They broke for a quick visit to some arcades and a walk along the beach in the rain but then it was back to the pub.

The only time they took the party breasts off in the next three days was on Friday and Saturday night to don a shirt and tie for The Wintergardens dances. "Great fun, but you should have seen the queues for drinks on Friday night."

Mark didnt find out until after arriving back on his familys farm that Nick Brown had been at the event. And Ben Gill, apparently. "AGM?" he laughed. "I didnt know there was an AGM there."

Though he didnt see any of the speakers, he did see the contents of his stomach (three times) and he did see that girl he snogged last year in Bournemouth.

He bumped into her on Friday night. She careered across the dancefloor towards him on someones shoulders just as he was beginning the chorus of a song with a lot of expletives in it. She didnt look quite as good as he remembered. A little smaller… and heavier. But by midnight she was looking better. "Has anyone told you before, you look like Victoria Beckham," he whispered into her ear.

Mark couldnt find her on Saturday, but he did meet up with some friends of friends from the West Country as he danced to Hi Ho Silver Lining. One of them seemed particularly impressed with the way he stamped on her feet and they were soon on rather more familiar terms.

"Going for a hat-trick tonight are you," Marks mates laughed on Sunday, as they donned wigs, sunglasses and big-collared shirts for the 70s night. But Mark was too tired by then to consider pulling.

He had, however, managed to snatch a couple of hours sleep on the beach at the sandcastle competition. They had intended to build a rudely-shaped one, but found that human anatomy had already been well represented by the time they got to the seafront.

Now, a fortnight on, Marks skint. "Still," he rues, "lap-dancing was never going to come cheap, was it."

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