Petrol at a premium

Dale Robbins

The show I did on Wednesday night was another one of those 'Special Orders'. It was for a conference dinner of Department of Education heads at Aitken Hill and, just to make things a little interesting, my brief was to appear as the guest speaker: Dale Robbins, a teacher who'd been over the the Andre Agassi Academy in Las Vegas and was going to present a report on my trip.

Other than researching the Academy (which is actually real) the only other info I went in armed with was that I was an English teacher at Ivanhoe Grammar School.

As I was introduced to several of the top brass over cocktails the first question I was asked was:

"What school were you at before Ivanhoe?"

No room for hesitation here or I'd be dead before I began.

"Braybrook" was the first word that came to my head, and sure enough, just like in all good sitcoms...

"Really? Who was principal when you were there?"

After what seemed like 5 hours but was actually less than a second... I replied.

"I'd rather not name names if that's ok..."

"Oh, it was (name deleted) wasn't it... I'm on the same page as you there!"

For the next hour I chatted about all things educational and regaled them with stories of my adventures in teaching. I even met someone who had friends in administration at Ivanhoe Grammar and we swapped stories...

Finally entree was over and I got up to speak about the Academy, which I did before slowly moving into some "exercises" we were taught and finally a toast. After I produced the can of Pepsi from my shoe most people had caught on to the fact I was not a teacher...(though I thought they'd catch on at the beginning when I said "A child's brain is like an orange, you peel back the skin to reveal the zest").

Surprisingly, they were not annoyed or embarrassed when it was revealed who I really was, but congratulated me saying the first hour of chat was even more amazing than the show!

But there was more to come and after main course I hopped up and gave them a full comedy and magic presentation which was customised to feature each of the General Managers.

It was an extremely challenging gig to prepare for, but extremely satisfying once it was over. (And it was an absolute roller coaster ride in between!)