On June 15th 2009, Cannon and Ball played a charity fundraiser in aid of Goole GoFar. The night was a huge success, Tommy and Bobby went down a storm and a whole lot of money was made for the charity.
Here, on this page, you can find out what the evening was all about, how it all came together and what happened on the night.
You will find two accounts of the evening.
The first will be written by Andy Smith who arranged the evening and went through months of stress and hard work to put everything together. It will tell of the evening and how it came to be.
The second will be written by myself from the viewpoint of a spectator, an audience member, just reporting on a cracking night out!
Click here to read Bobby's answers to the audience's questions.
I had known that this event was to be taking place for many
months before it actually happened.
Andy worked really hard for months. Apart from arranging everything with Bobby and Tommy and the charity and everything associated with getting the show together, there were the tickets, the question slips, advertising in the media, newspapers, TV channels for local news, it took a lot of hard work on his part to get it all right for the night.
Sadly, when Tommy and Bobby finally agreed on the date that they wanted to perform on, I knew that I wouldn't be able to attend. I had two other dates booked into the old diary at that time, one was two days before it and one was two days after it. There was no way I could get to travel to Manchester twice and Goole once in the space of 5 days so it was thought that I couldn't go to this show.
To cut a long story short, right up until the afternoon of the show, I was wishing everyone a good night, had fingers crossed for Andy that all would run smoothly and wishing Bob and Tom good luck for the show. E-mails and texts were flying back and forth all day between myself, Andy and our other friends who were to be attending.
On the afternoon of the show, my Mum turned up and during conversation, it was mentioned that it was the night of the Goole show. She asked if I was going, I told her I wasn't and why and she then suggested that if there were still tickets available that she would take me over there to see the show. That was it, I was on the phone, Andy did the business with the tickets, thanks again, and within a few hours we were on our way.
I was so happy, for months I had accepted the fact that I wouldn't be there but now, out of the blue we were on the way and would surprise everyone. I decided not to tell our friends that I was going, just to turn up and surprise them.
As we arrived in Goole, we followed the directions we had and pulled into The Courtyard Car Park at 6.30pm behind a silver car. As the car pulled into it's parking space, I realised that it was one of our friends arriving at exactly the same time. We parked next to them, I looked out of my window and into their car waiting for our friend Roz to turn around and see me. Roz was looking the other way but as I was looking in the car, her husband Rich saw me and told her that I was there. Roz turned around, not believing him as I wasn't going to this gig, as she saw me, she screamed and yelled, "What are you doing here!"
I explained and we all went towards the building to find out where it was we had to be. We were early and so didn't expect to get into the building, we just wanted to find out where to go. As we neared the door, we saw Andy trying to get organised and he came out to greet us. He told us where we should go and that they were run off of their feet as people had been arriving early. We went inside, there was a raffle, a bottle game and other various tables inside the door, we all bought tickets and a key for the bottle game and then tried to keep out of everyone's way whilst it was time to go in. We were asked to fill out a slip with our names and a question to ask Cannon and Ball, there was to be a question and answer session in the second half of the show. We all stood around scratching our heads trying to think of something intelligent to ask.
At around 6.45pm, the room was opened up where the event was to take place and we went in to find where we would be sitting. One of our group hadn't arrived yet and so after a while, my Mum decided to go outside to have a cigarette and I said that I would walk up to the front of the building to see if I could see Natalie anywhere.
As I got near the front door, I saw Natalie and went towards her, behind her, I saw Bobby walking through the door. Bobby spoke to the people on the doors, I spoke to Natalie who looked a little confused to see me. I explained what had happened and that I was just coming to look for her. Bob came towards us, said hello, gave me a hug, passed a few words and then was taken to where he would be getting changed.
I showed Natalie where we were sitting after explaining that Roz was already there and that we were all sitting together. Mum was still out having her smoke so I decided to go back out to her until she had finished. I was telling her that Natalie had turned up and that I had just seen Bobby when the gate behind us opened. It was Bobby and Tommy coming in from the car park with their stage gear. I looked at the time and it was just after 7pm.
I made a comment to Bobby about the star turns being early and he stopped for a chat. He gave me another hug, and I introduced my Mum, we had a chat and explained that it was down to her that I managed to get there and after a few minutes he had to go and drop his things off in the dressing room. Mum finished her smoke and we went to sit back down. By this time, just after 7pm, the room was just about full, everyone had turned up early and were excited, the room was buzzing.
Ten minutes before the show started, Andy called me over to the computer in the corner that was running the music for the evening. There had been some problems with the music locations but between us we sorted it out and got it all ready for when Tommy and Bobby came onto the stage.
Half past seven arrived and Andy got up onto the stage to introduce the act everyone had come out to see, Cannon and Ball.
Bobby and Tommy came out onto the stage to huge applause and when
Andy pressed the button to start their music, I couldn't believe it.
They were going to sing "Together".
When I heard the opening notes of the song, I looked up right at
Bob with a huge, massive cheesy grin on my face, must have looked
The next hour really went by in a blur. The lads were on top form, really top form. The audience was with them 100%, they talked about the locality of the show, tore strips off of Goole and the people who live there, all in good fun of course, and the audience loved every minute. They did parts of a few of their routines, they did how to pick up a lady, invisible ping pong, sang The Greatest Love of All and talked about many different things.
They did the usual, picking on just about every member of the audience from anything from their hairdos, their new white trainers to their choice of husband or wife, lol. The audience were with them all the way.
There were things going on around the room which I noticed, and Bob and Tom noticed also and you know what it is like when something is making you want to laugh at an important time and you have to try to hold it in? That was going on but it was growing as time went on and got worse and worse. The more I wanted to laugh, I had to try to hold it in, this was made worse when I was looking at Bobby and he was looking at me, both knew what was going on and the more he also tried to hold it all in, the harder it became. Eventually we both cracked a few times and it became hysterical, poor Bob was trying to sing a song. As we tried to calm it down Tommy then started which set us off again and then as I looked to my side, my Mum had started and she was crying with laughter. It didn't help. As the song finished, everyone tried to regain their composure and carry on.
Andy didn't get away with any of the stick they dished out over the course of the night. He was sat at the computer throughout the evening, ready and waiting to push the button on the computer to start up their music when they needed it. As computers have a habit of doing, they wait until you press a button to decide to wait a few seconds before doing anything. This gave Bob and Tom the ideal opportunity to rib him about missing all the cues and the volume not being high enough etc. He took it every time there was music required, and they made him put it back to the start every time after struggling to get it to work each time. Bless him, they knew how to pile on the pressure.
One of the routines they did was one where Tommy gets upset with Bobby and sends him away. Bobby comes back in a hat and a mac with a bag in his hand, a Sainsbury's bag as it was last night.
Bobby skulked away up the room through the middle of the audience. He was talking to the audience, or shouting at them, and he was arguing with Tommy and then all of a sudden I saw him rushing towards me. The next thing I knew, he was hitting me over and over again with the bag and shouting. The audience thought it was hilarious, I was trying to hide my face form the bag and before I knew it, he had gone again. The thing was, every time I thought he had disappeared he came back and did it again. This happened about 5 times, then when I thought he had finished, Tom took the bag off of him and then he started, Haha.
When I thought my ordeal was over, Tommy turned around, came back, picked my own bag up from my knee and flung it to the floor, with some force may I add. All I thought was, please don't have broken my camera, Haha. It was a new one. I was glad when they were both back on the stage at a safe distance. People asked me afterwards if they were really hitting me, I had to reply that Tom's didn't seem so bad, he was more hitting the chair than me but as for Bob, yup, every one of them struck! :)
There was then a short interval.
I am not sure why yet, as I have not asked Bob and Andy hasn't mentioned it although he will probably know, but as the second half started, we all expected them to come out and do the answers to the questions we had written, but they didn't. I think maybe, they got such a good vibe from the audience that they decided to carry on with what they had been doing in the first half as we and they seemed to be really enjoying it.
They continued on, telling us true stories about their life and times together and chatted away with the audience. Told a few jokes, sang another song, Wind Beneath My Wings and just had a fantastic time. Roz thought that she had got away lightly this time, Bobby and Tommy had said to her a few times during the first half, "How are you doing Roz?" , "Roz, have you got anything to say?", "Come on Roz, tell us something, what is it?" She got really embarrassed but was glad that that was as far as it had gone.
She should have known better. It got to a point where they were talking and he must have just caught her eye. That was enough for it to start again. Bobby introduced her to the rest of the crowd and explained that she was one of their oldest fans (in numbers of years of being a fan Roz, not that you are old, lol). He made her stand up, she eventually, reluctantly did it. He made her say how many years she had been following them both, she told the crowd that it had been 28 years, she got a round of applause but then that was about all that was at all complimentary. Between them they asked her in all of the 28 years, had she changed her top? Had she washed her hair before she came out as it looked greasy and lank! Had she brushed her teeth? Poor Roz, she took it all in good spirits, she has seen them enough to expect such things. She sat with her head lowered for a while but was just glad that it was all over!
The next thing we knew, a bloke from the corridor outside appeared at the door. Bob and Tom gave him the usual verbal, get lost fella, your name isn't on the poster, haha. The guy stayed exactly where he was despite anything that they were saying to him, they found this hilarious and went over to the guy who was by this time waving at one of his friends in the crowd.
As he saw them approaching him, he started shouting Rock On Tommy and other things, he was finding it all entertaining. As they got to him, he shook their hands and entered into 5 minutes worth of banter before having the entire room, including Bob and Tom in stitches. They were trying to talk to him and explain that they were in the middle of a show. He was completely ignoring them and waving and shouting to his friend, "Ey, alright lad, You on for tomorrow?"
This was it, That turned into the evening's new catchphrase. When the guy eventually left the room and went on his way, Bob and Tom asked his friend who he was and what he did. His friend simply said, I run a pub, he comes in and nicks all of my glasses! That answer just topped it all off. You couldn't write something like that. They say that true life is stranger than fiction don't they? That certainly was. It had Bobby in stitches for the rest of the night, For the rest of the evening, every story that was told, had included in it somewhere, "Are you on for tomorrow?" accompanied by a huge thumbs up and funny face.
Even when they sang their final song, both of them in turn, while the other one was singing his lines, left the room, appeared at the other door, pointed at the man's friend and shouted, "Are you on for tomorrow?" I am surprised they managed to get through that song.
As they finished up, they said that they had had a really good night. I know that acts say that before they leave the stage but that was one of the very few times that I have actually believed one. There had been such fantastic interaction between the audience and themselves that I believe that they really DID have a good time. There were lots of personal things that seemed to make it a special night.
We went to have a quick word with Bobby and Tommy after the show finished. They didn't have long, they had to get off for their drives home but were good enough to stop and have a chat and some piccies taken before they left.
I thanked Bobby for singing Together after all of this time.
He said, "I did it for you!", I said, "I know, did you see the
big stupid thumbs up I gave you for it?" Lol!
I am sure that Andy then breathed a sigh of relief that it was all over and he could start to relax a little. The night was a huge success, £1711.00 was raised for the charity and that's what really mattered.
As we reflected on it all the way home and for the rest of the night, everything I thought about brought a huge smile to my face. I think that that is the best indicator to what sort of a time you have had. I couldn't fault it, everything was brill. Another great night out thanks to Cannon and Ball.
Long may they continue.
I sent Bob a message asking if he might be able to do something and he got back to me saying he would see what Tommy thought. I suggested some dates and left it at that. Within a week Bob had sent me a message saying they would come and do something for us on Monday 15th June. To quote a well known comedian, I was, “excited Tommy”
A suitable photo was found of Bob and Tom and
the posters were made and distributed about the town. The following
day people started booking the first of the 150 seats we had. The
Courier paper ran a piece the following day prompting more ticket
Andrea quickly came onboard and advertised the “gig” here on the website and various e-mails passed between Bob and myself, Bob and Andrea and Andrea and me. It was then a bit of a waiting game, with ticket sales slowly increasing as the weeks passed. The other local paper ran a story about Cannon and Ball coming to town. There was a slight misquote from them which I quickly told Bob about. He was fine with it, knowing how the press can sometimes get things wrong! Despite the piece in the paper, we were still getting asked, “Is it the real Cannon and Ball?” To which we would reply, “Yes, there is only one Cannon and Ball!” The East Riding Mail got involved and did a piece about the show, sending a photographer through to take some photos of our Friday shopper bus to show the sort of work the GoFar did. Unfortunately despite lots of e-mails, I was unable to get either of the two local news programmes involved to cover the show.
All too soon it was the Friday before the show. We had sold all but 4 of the 150 tickets. I’d just got in from work and was having a sandwich when my mobile rang, it was Bob
“Andy, have we got a sound system?”
“Have we got microphones?”
“Yes Bob, two radio mics”
“Have we got a CD player that is linked to the sound system?”
“No Bob, but I can get one no problem at all. See you Monday Bob”
I put the phone down and did a great impression of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone when he uses after shave for the first time, “Arrrrrggggghhhhh!”
Nothing could be done now until Monday, when it would be easily sorted - hopefully!
Monday morning arrived. I was in the office for 8.30 having finished a school run early. On the Friday two of the last four tickets had been sold, but there was a note saying that someone hadn’t received their four tickets and the two that were left had disappeared. The two that had gone missing were wanted by Arthur one of the caretakers and was there any chance that Jackie the other caretaker could have an extra ticket! I felt another Macaulay Culkin moment coming on. Thankfully within an hour the ticket problems had been sorted and everyone was happy. Next job, pick up the stage from the Gate Theatre next door to the Courtyard. Luckily I had my lad Michael to help me. Just as well as the two pieces of stage were a considerable weight and very awkward to carry. We eventually got them to the main hall and I returned to the office for a coffee and oxygen. The rest of the morning was spent sorting out raffle prizes and making sure the pens we were giving out worked…the lit up and flashed on and off. For this I have to thank Christine my boss and her daughter Amy.
3pm and we managed to set the stage up in the main hall. It was going to be in use from 3.30 until 6.15 so we had to be quick. Jackie the caretaker had sorted out the sound system and was going to make sure the CD player was linked to it. Home for a bit of tea!
I was back at 5.30. Jackie told me that if the CD player was linked to the sound system, the microphones wouldn’t work and vice versa…here comes Macaulay I thought, but no, Jo from the Castaway group offered the use of one of her amps and we would run the music through a laptop.
By 6.15 people had started turning up! This despite being told they would not be able to get in until at least 6.45 as there was another group using the hall. At least it meant the raffle tickets would start to sell. By 6.30 there was quite a crowd and as the other group moved out of the hall, Jackie, Arthur and the other helpers moved in to start putting chairs out. The audience were even offering their services which I had to politely refuse on the grounds of health and safety! I was placing reserved signs on wheelchair spaces, Christine appeared at one of the doors, “Andy! Bobby is here!” I went out into the corridor and saw Bob by the doors with Natalie close behind. I went forward and shook his hand and heard the immortal words, “Hello cocker, how are you doing?” Things would be just fine!
I went out to Bob’s car with him to help him with his gear and as we reached it, Tommy emerged from his car. Bob and Tom both here, that meant that me, Baz, Terry, George and Frank wouldn’t have to do our “Full Monty” back up show!
In the small room next to the hall Bob and Tom signed a poster for the office and made themselves a cuppa. I presented them with their Goole GoFar fleeces, which had their names on and flowers for Yvonne and Hazel.
Tony the photographer from the Goole Courier had arrived so I gathered some of the GoFar crew together for a photo. He took one of Christine with Bob and Tom and then one of the lads with myself, Jim, Frank, Christine and Barry. Sadly that was the only photos of the night. I had my camera, but forgot to take any photos!
Everyone disappeared and Bob took out a CD. “Its these five tracks Smudge” he said to me
“Right,” says I, “you want me to do the sounds?”
“Well we can’t can we cocker…You’ll be fine”
Off I go into the hall and pop the CD into the laptop. Now considering I used to teach IT to adults, I suddenly forgot how computers worked. Don’t panic I thought, stay calm, the solution will come to you, and it did….Andrea!! Between us we got the laptop sorted and made sure it could be heard.
I went back in and told the lads we were good to go
Stepping onto the stage I had to give out information on fire alarms, toilets, where to run if there was an emergency. Then I got to do the bit I had been waiting for and I might add practising for ages…introduce the lads. Now in the comfort of your own home, using a hairbrush as a microphone, it was a doddle, but now I was up there…it all went blank. I remember mentioning that I first saw the lads in Scarborough in the early 80’s when I was a lad of ten…the audience laughed for some reason, but the rest has totally gone. I must have said, ladies and gentlemen please welcome Cannon and Ball, because the lads came out behind me.
The audience went wild clapping and cheering, I think that must have been for Bob and Tom and not me. I sat next to the laptop and readied my button pressing finger. Bob gave me the nod and I pressed away….nothing. I pressed again and it started, the opening bars to “Together” The audience loved it and were instantly clapping singing along. I noticed Bob smiling and pointing at someone in the audience and when I looked it was Andrea. Having read her write up I now know why.
The song over, Bob came out with a classic. “ I used my SAT NAV to get over here, you probably won’t of heard of them in Goole, they’re quite new! Anyway, as I was pulling up the SAT NAV said KEEP GOING!” brilliant! Then it was have a go at the audience time. The lady they found in the front row, just two seats along from my lovely wife, was Frances one of our volunteer drivers. Boy did she get some stick, and she loved it. I was worried for a bit as Frances had recently been in hospital with breathing problems! I think all the laughing she did cleared her pipes!! Bob thought my lad Michael must have nits because of his short hair and Frances husband George should never have worn those white trainers.
More music and songs followed. As Andrea has mentioned my timing was not the best, and the lads were making me do it again until the timing and volume were just right. I knew exactly what was coming when Tommy told Bob to get off stage, and Bob emerged from the dressing room in mac and cap carrying a bag. I’d had the bag treatment when we went to see them in Hull. Which poor soul will get it tonight I thought? Bob moved to the audience and found his prey…Andrea. At least I wasn’t the only one getting stick tonight.
It was interval time. I went into the room with Bob and Tom and apologised for messing up the sounds, I needn’t have worried, they were fine about it! I left them to have a cuppa. In the corridor someone came rushing up to say a lady had collapsed in the toilets. I immediately got my wife Jackie a nurse and Richard, Roz’s hubby offered his services too…That was why Richard and Jackie were late back in. I can assure you all that the lady in question was fine and came back into the hall just before Jackie.
I got back in my “techy’s” seat and pressed the button…probably the only time that night I got it right! Bob and Tom appeared and again the audience went wild. Now originally, the second half was going to be a Q&A session and question forms had been produced and indeed filled in and placed in a box by the stage. I think what may have happened was that the lads were having such great “banter” with the audience that they wanted to carry it on, so the questions were not used. I still have them in the office and will see at some point if Andrea would like to put some on the site.
As Andrea has mentioned, a little way into the second half this chap appeared. I won’t repeat what Andrea has already said, but I wasn’t sure what to do. I moved to the edge of my seat…do I intervene, do I……. Problem solved, Bob and Tom made him part of the act! Forty five years together teaches you how to handle the audience. Eventually the chap went on his way happy that he now knew that his mate was “on tomorrow”
Bob and Tom carried on telling us about the time they met Prince Phillip and how he remembered their meeting after a royal variety show. Bob then spotted Roz in the audience and she was given plenty of good natured stick!
I knew there was a song coming up and was waiting nervously…”Not yet” Bob kept telling me. Then it was time…I missed the cue! Eventually I got the cue and the lads sang Wind Beneath my Wings…both taking it in turns to dash off stage and shout, “Are you on for tomorrow”
All too soon the song had finished and the lads were saying goodnight. The audience were on their feet cheering and clapping and rightly so. I took the opportunity to thank everyone for supporting us that night. I also wanted to thank Jackie for putting up with me going on about fundraisers, for what must have seemed and eternity. As I stood on stage I saw the man who gave me my first job in his bakers shop, and who taught me so much I joined the navy as a chef…I had to thank him too, much to his embarrassment…if you read this Bernard, I apologise.
Eventually after signing lots of autographs and posing for photos I helped Tommy with his stuff out to his car. He told me he had had a great night and the audience were fantastic. I thanked him for all he had done and he set off for home.
I went back and did the same for Bob, helping him with his stuff to the car. We’d managed to lose Natalie who had Yvonne’s flowers, but eventually we found her. I thanked Bob and told him we should have made over £1,600 which he was really pleased about. He set off with Natalie close behind in her car…she needed to follow him to the motorway.
Andrea and the gang came out and I thanked them for coming and waved them off.
Back in the hall Christine, Amy, Frank, Jackie and Michael were taking down all the photo boards and bits and pieces. Everyone agreed it had been a fantastic night. How were we going to top this next year!
I know I’ve said it a lot of late, but I really do have to thank Bob and Tom for coming and supporting us. They didn’t have to do it, but they did and made over £1,700 for the charity. Heartfelt thanks from myself and everyone involved at the GoFar. On a personal note, I would like to thank them both for giving me the opportunity to stand in front of an audience and introduce my comedy idols. That will be something I shall never forget. We used to have a saying in the navy, “ Been there…Done That!” Well on Monday the 15th June, I was there and I did do that!
The only thing that needs to be said is, on my CV can I now put sound technician to the stars?
Rock on lads…You’ll do for me cockers.