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The Ever-Increasing Circle of Shade - By Mad Marty Wilson

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Nov 01, 2010


I had never attended Poker in the Park before and I was in for a surprise — what a class act it was. This promotional event was held at Leicester Square, and the organisation and atmosphere was terrific. The Devilfish was there giving talks and signing copies of his autobiography and I had the pleasure of hosting the poker tournament for Red Hot Poker. I also had the chance to tell a few of my Mad Marty stories. I told the one about being in the Guinness Book of Records seven times and also my favourite story about my grandmother.

I met some people I had not seen in years and also made a few new friends as well. But an old friend of mine, Nigel Blower, reminded me of an entertaining day we had a few years ago, when we went down the Thames on one of those riverboat cruises. The cruises start only yards from the Millennium Wheel, better known to you and I as the London Eye. When we boarded the boat we were greeted by the captain, whose name was James Healey. That would make him Captain James Healey I suppose.

We were asked at the time if we would like a guided tour or to listen to some music. I put my hand up for the verbal guide, as did most of the other passengers. I’m glad I did as the tour was absolutely brilliant. The first thing you see is Cleopatra’s Needle and then you pass St. Paul’s Cathedral and then the Millennium Footbridge, which they spent £18 million on only to open it on June 10, 2000 and close it two days later because it moved too much!

What a waste of money that was. It took almost two more years before the problems were solved and the bridge re-opened, no doubt costing a few more million quid along the way. Anyway, the next thing we were to cast our eyes on was something of optical brilliance. Made from brass and wood, it was the largest telescope in the world. At 37ft long and 12ft tall, it is an absolute dream of a device, which was built for £28 million. But the reason why it was built left me breathless.

Two million years ago a meteorite, measuring a ginormous 60 miles across, hit the earth’s atmosphere and caused devastation, killing all the dinosaurs in the process. This puzzled me for the rest of the journey as I was absolutely convinced that it was an extremely hot summer’s day and all the dinosaurs in the world were shuffling together saying to each other “let’s get under this ever increasing circle of shade” (try saying that in a pub when you have had a few beers).

I now had to wait for the boat to go to the Millennium Dome, which incidentally had many millions spent on it and is also now closed, and then come back to the London Eye before I could get the real answer from Captain James Healey. The suspense was absolutely killing me. I waited for everybody to disembark then asked him “was it an exceptionally hot day”. He looked at me as if to say “are you stupid” before he replied, “the reason all the dinosaurs died was the dust from the meteorite kicked up and choked them all.” Me and Nigel spent hours laughing about the ever increasing circle of shade. For those of you who don’t know who Nigel is, he was the main man at Ladbrokes and organised some great adventures, such as two Caribbean cruises and many trips to Las Vegas. By the way, the reason the telescope was built was because the next meteorite is long overdue and the astronomers want to view it coming. Ah well, different strokes for different folks. I’d want to be hiding from the bloody thing, not waiting for it. Let’s hope the next one hits the sea. That would make a splash.

Finally, I would like to congratulate my satellite winners who have just won a weekend to remember after a weekend of great memories in Manchester. ♠

Mad Marty Wilson is a professional gambler and poker consultant for Matchroom Sport.