I wrote about Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day a couple of weeks ago. But, today is the day, so I thought I’d share one of my favourite clips from Red Nose Days of recent years.
Happy Red Nose Day!
Many in Montreal would have you believe it’s the longest-running St. Patrick’s Day Parade in North America (the first one was in 1824 apparently), although some folks in NYC might dispute that. Regardless, the 187th Montreal Paddy’s Day Parade will go ahead on March 20, 2011. And Montrealers just love it.
I’ve seen various attendance estimates – anything from 300,000 to 500,000 line the streets to watch the parade every year, depending on which article you read. Exactly how they count is beyond my comprehension. Let’s just say a lot of people show up.
They wear tacky Irish themed hats, paint their faces green, and pretend they’re from the Emerald Isle for the day. The irony that St. Patrick was born in Britain (England or Scotland depending on which legend you subscribe to), that the colour originally associated with him was blue, and that his name was probably not Patrick at all, is undoubtedly lost on most. Still, why let facts spoil a good party?
For many, the Paddy’s Day Parade signals the end of winter, but you can still be standing in snow, freezing your arse off watching it. For others it’s a day of too much green beer.
I used to partake in the green beer fest. But, alas, time has caught up with me. The pubs are just too busy for me now. Too many people, standing on too little floor space, drinking far too much beer that they had to wait too long to be served. Somehow this was fun in 2002, but now, it’s not for me. I have work the next day. Yes, I think I am old.
But, I will be there on Parade day. As always. This time I will be with my young boy. We will clap our hands as the marching bands pass, wave at people dancing on floats, and point at inflatable objects. We’ll have a blast – and be home for nap time.
This is not a post about personal challenges, or drama. It is quite literally about the worst month in the year.
The calendar year comprises 12 months. Most have something about them that makes them tolerable – even enjoyable to live through. But one – well, one I really struggle with. It has no redeeming characteristics at all. And, we are in it.
June in Montreal brings the summer. It’s festival time in July. October offers those striking fall colours, and Halloween. December has the first real snow, and the holidays. The month of January boasts the most important day of the year (my birthday). And, February is mercifully short. Thank you for that February.
But March? What does March contribute?
I’ll tell you what: it contributes slush, grey and black snow, and the smell of de-frosting garbage and dog poop. And, it’s still minus freeze-yer-bits-off-degrees. There is nothing good about March.
By this time of the year I’m done with winter. Really done with it.
We kid ourselves that March is the end of the winter. But, as Montrealers were reminded yesterday, we all know that we have a few more heavy snow falls to come, and we know our ears and noses remain subject to frost bite.
March is cruel. It teases you with the odd day of sunshine, and balmy temperatures around freezing, before bringing on a snow storm and -19C the very next day. March, you’re not funny.
**** you March. **** you.
In 1988, the organization launched its first Red Nose Day. I’m old enough to remember it. They’ve been doing it every other year, ever since. It’s a telethon with a twist. It’s funny. That’s the twist. Brits will know all about it. Basically, a bunch of British comedians come together for a few hours on TV, make people laugh, and raise money for charidee mate. They even rope in some major celebrities from the worlds of film, music, politics and sport. You can see some clips – including a guest appearance from Johnny Depp, here.
On Red Nose Day, people are encouraged to wear… (can you guess?)… a red nose. Of course you’re supposed to buy the official plastic ones, but I confess to making my own with a ping-pong ball, a pair of scissors, and some red paint courtesy of my Airfix modelling kit that first year. We were poor. It hurt – scraped my nose. And everyone at school made fun of me. I bought an official one in 1989.
Red Nose wearing antics ensue on this special day. Across the UK, people can be found sitting in a bath of cold baked beans, or participating in an egg and spoon race dressed as clowns. All to raise money for the cause. I once wore a skirt for the day. But, back to Comic Relief.
If you are a student, you can take part in a Comic Relief event right here in Montreal this year. McGill University’s British Appreciation Society (BAS) is hosting its first Comic Relief Pub Quiz at Gerts’, McGill’s student bar, on Saturday, March 5. Students only unfortunately. To find out more, click here.
For the rest of us, we can cut out the fun bit, and donate directly right here.
Happy Red Nose Day!