The ninth Friendly Memory Championship attracted a crowd of people in a very hot room on a very hot day at Attenborough Nature Reserve. I had been worried at one point about not having enough arbiters, what with the ever-present Dai living in Hong Kong, but he's back in Britain and was there to help out, Nick The Greek came to arbit too, and with the ever-awesome Phil, we practically had more arbiters than competitors.
The competitors were the Knight brothers Marlo and Clay (note, he's called Clay and not Cole, as I said in my blog about the Welsh championship. I nearly got it, and we were in a part of the world where they dig coal out of the ground a lot more than clay, I'm sure), other English friends Phill and Jake (a pairing of names that had me singing the Adventure Time tune to myself all day) and Scandinavian Søren and Yanjaa. The latter was new to me, but she's been touring the world of memory competitions lately, and is super-enthusiastic about the whole thing, which is always good to see! I like it when people come to these events with the clear intention of being the world champion. Mongolian-born, Swedish-residing and attributes her American-accented English to Cartoon Network, which I approve of hugely, of course.
We also had Jon from the telly, filming bits and pieces but generally just being there to find out what memory competitions are like and get to know the people - I think we made a good impression, since he came to the pub afterwards as well, and the post-friendly-championship drink is always the best way to get to know us. And we had newcomer Bryan, who couldn't be persuaded to give memorising a go, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.
The event perhaps didn't go entirely smoothly - the heat in the room killed the overhead projector quite quickly, meaning we couldn't use my trademark Powerpoint slides, and it probably stopped everyone from achieving their best scores. I also had a problem with the spoken numbers - I'd prepared them on Powerpoint as usual, but found they wouldn't play on my new laptop (rather too late, during the competition, I realised that this was because the sound files were stored on the old laptop). No problem, though, I'd just bring my old broken laptop instead. But then it dropped dead the night before the event, so I had to resort to plan C - using one of the online spoken-number generators. But it didn't work quite right, possibly because of a dodgy internet connection, and the other one (plan D) wasn't working at all. So we did Plan E, involving Jake's iPhone (or whatever it was) and the WMC Ladder app.
That worked fine, so we didn't have to go with Plan F, which would have been me reading the numbers out myself. Still, it was the kind of flamingo-up I would have been hugely sarcastic about in my blog if it had been someone else's competition, so I'll just invite you all to make fun of me for being so generally rubbish, please.
Marlo led from start to finish and took home the grand prize (a bottle of good champagne that my boss gave me a while ago - I don't like champagne, so I thought it'd be better appreciated by a specially-selected memory competition winner). Yanjaa was a very strong second, and Søren an excellent third.