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At Ground Level – The Fourth Annual Monty Python Madness Silly Walk

by JediCole
If the game of golf is called a good walk spoiled, imagine its effect on a silly walk!

It's Lady Gore Blimeigh!

Established over three decades ago on an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the “silly walk” has become a staple of Python lore. And a favorite topic (and activity) of many a fan. But not since the Anglo-French Silly Walk have so many walked so silly for so long as they had on Saturday, October 2, 2010 for the fourth time in as many years. I speak of course, in a silly way, of the British Emporium’s Fourth Annual Silly Walk, a charity event that collects serious funds in a ludicrous way.

Just in case you are joining us late (and for those of you tuning in on the USG World Service Wire) and have somehow missed our ongoing coverage of Monty Python Madness then you are one of those who also missed Monty Python Madness (Mrs.) as it was held last week. Too late for you, but then there is always next year. For a few more years anyway if the Aztecs get their way. But I digress. And for those of you who have read my work in the past this will come as no surprise. The admission of said digression was included solely for the benefit of those who have joined us late (or who are tuning in via the USGWSW). And now…


Carol Cleveland joins the fun Saturday morning!

The official report (or Dispatch From the Walk Line) of the Silly Walk in historic Grapevine , Texas. And yet again history was made in historic Grapevine, the undisputed home of Grapevine history. On the occasion of the fourth annual such event I had the good fortune (and foresight) to register and join in on the wackiness as a participant in the walk. Benefiting Grace Charities of Grapevine, the Silly Walk represented one of the incredible activities celebrating Monty Python Madness. Starting at the equally historic Cotton Belt Depot a mere half mile from the British Emporium on a clear October morning, one could not help but wonder at the thoughts of passers by as they espied the odd congregation in front of the depot building that day.

To the unschooled (in Python) it must have seemed quite a collection of loonies! There were a few Gumbys (“My brain hurts!), a lumberjack (and that’s okay), a Viking (Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam!), and even a collection of the dangerous Hell’s Grannies of Notlob! Oh, sorry, Bolton! There was also a Victorian lady who bore a striking resemblance to Sheela of the Emporium. Now that I mention it there was a Gumby armed with a camera who looked a bit like Larry from the Emporium as well. And of course the inevitable “It’s!” Man was in attendance. Other participants were not attired in Python-related costume but were prepared to ply their silly walks none the less. And there was a familiar figure in the group as well. Familiar to fans of Amazing Comicast and the USG anyway…our old friend the Mighty Placeholder! (It actually worked out that I was unable to attend due to last minute scheduling changes and had to employ the services of the Hero’s Hero, luckily he had an opening that morning, though he had to depart before lunch to accept an award on behalf of Brother Voodoo that afternoon.)

The Minister of Silly Walks himself.

After all of the walkers had assembled the walk was soon underway, but only after a few announcements. Carol Cleveland herself was in attendance to view the start of the event and join the walkers later at their destination. After a welcome from the folks at the Emporium and Ms. Cleveland a most official looking fellow took the stage (or the porch of the depot), none other than the Minister of silly Walks himself, who read a pronouncement outlining the history of this historic (and did I mention fourth annual) Silly Walk and citing the adjustments that the Emporium owners had to make to such differences between Texas and their native England, including “hot weather and cold tea”. With that the walk was officially begun!

A mere half mile seems like a terribly short distance to one possessed of a standard and sensible gait. However a silly walk does have a tendency to add mileage all its own. To those who take on such a short journey with standard ambulatory techniques the distance can be traveled in fairly short order. But when one’s walk is of the silly variety this becomes a test of endurance. Silly endurance. And takes considerably longer to achieve. If every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, every silly journey of a half mile then begins with a forward thrust of the left foot, arching slightly to the right then left, thrown straight back, then forward again, shaken wildly in every direction before touching lightly, toes only, to the ground only to repeat the previous action before allowing for a worthwhile footfall that allows a second step to follow. And that is just one variation on the silly walk! Like snowflakes, no two walks are quite the same. And science is baffled when trying to explain the phenomenon!

As I am the official contact, agent, and chronicler of the exploits of the Mighty Placeholder he shared with me intimate details of his participation in this event. To grasp the nature of the relationship I have with this incredible and often unsung hero you need only imagine Peter Parker in Sam Rami’s Spider-Man describing in the most poetic and flowery terms the nature of Spidey’s attraction to Mary Jane. It was like he had glimpsed into the Wall-Crawler’s very soul! But again I digress. (Get on with it!) So in my capacity of the keeper of the Placeholder’s tales I can impart to you that his walk was particularly silly. In fact Sheela had passed him at one point, moving along the way in her own silly fashion, and remarked how silly his walk was that morning. He politely replied that it had become considerably more silly that day, undoubtedly in keeping with his intense professionalism when standing in (or silly walking in) for someone in their absence.

My brain hurts!

The route of this bizarre parade of oddball pedestrians crossed many a street and passed in full view of an outdoor flea market and many of the historic shops and restaurants of historic Grapevine’s historic Main Street. Only three times previous in the city’s recent history had such a strange sight been seen by patrons, passers by, and motorists. And then only in 1911, when a train car of visiting English Silly Walkers was inadvertently let off at the wrong depot, had anyone in Grapevine seen such a gathering prior to 2007! And how much like October 2, 2010 it must have seemed back then! The astonished looks of those who were unaware of just how silly Grapevine was going to be, or at least bits of it, that day were something to behold. As were the varied walks of those joining in on this activity for a good cause.

All good, and indeed silly, things must come to and end and in goodly time the mass of participating walkers had made their way to the shores, no, that’s not it, door of the British Emporium! Therein they all effected a more traditional means of walking as they all milled about the shop, seeking fine goodies from England, Australia, and South Africa to enjoy as mementos of their visit (the Placeholder graciously passed on to Mrs. JediCole my request for some Jelly Babies) and awaited the announcement of the prize winners from the walk. The store was packed full with the owners, Carol Cleveland, the former Silly Walkers, the Minister of Silly Walks himself, and various other patrons of the walk and the shop. Prizes were taken in the Children’s Costume, Best Costume, and Best Silly Walk categories amid much applause.

Spam! Spam! Spam Spam!

Having arrived on the scene shortly after the Mighty Placeholder had to depart for the Marvel Universe I am looking forward to seeing the footage of the event captured by Rick, Krystle, and Loran as part of our coverage. Even the “It’s” Man joined the fun, assisting in the shoot of the introduction. Then again perhaps he was not meant to be there. Stay tuned for the arrival of that footage here on the USG site along with coverage of USG Night at Zombie Manor (including the debut appearance of Doctor Ambrose Zacharius) which occurred later that same day!

This Just In: I received a note from the Mighty Placeholder this morning indicating that the half mile silly walk has left his legs quite sore even today. But such is the level of his dedication to standing in on the behalf of others!


There was much silliness and joy to be had by all.
Now you say it was a half mile- is that as the swallow flies?

Loran, do you mean an African swallow? Or a European swallow?

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