A Great weekend , shame about the result !! Becontree Colliery Miners Welfare Institute Prize Silver Subscription Band go to Butlins Jan 19th-21st. Many are the times when my friends and colleagues have questioned the sanity of those involved in the brass band movement and they certainly were this weekend as we headed off to Skegness amidst rain and gales for the Mineworkers Contest . A somewhat later than planned for arrival on Friday night after sitting in London traffic for nearly three hours before even getting underway, but by the evening a good crowd of us were to be found in the Centre Stage venue , enjoying a programme by the Polysteel band, Brass Band Aid celebrity band and various soloists, followed by Bucks Fizz ! From here we moved on to what was to prove for many of us to be our second home for the weekend, the 'Sun and Moon pub', where the fruitlessness of my search for any decent real ale on site was confirmed ! It was also here where we met up with friends from the band up the road back home in Essex, Redbridge Brass. Up reasonably early on Saturday, we were tuned to the TV with baited breath to hear the draw. Once Kenny Ball's Jazz Band had been succesfully abated a respectable number 8 came out of the bag, and we headed over to the Royal Arthur suite feeling confident that we could gain something from all the hard work that we and our Professional Conductor Dudley Bright had put in over the past weeks. The usual wait for registration and we were on ! The playing venue was perhaps not the most ideal, we euphos being sat closer to the first three rows of the audience than we were to the rest of the band ( in fact the old chap on the front row turned Alan’s music over for him!) and a lowish ceiling did not help , but post-performance we all knew we had not done ourselves justice, particularly in the earlier sections. Many in the audience thought the second half much better but by then the damage had been done, and I for one will put my hand up and say that I played well under the standard I know is needed . A result of 20th from 20 was a terrible disappointment, not in terms of being hard done by by the adjudicators , but because we all knew we could and have played much better . However, there were positives that I want to comment on briefly . Firstly , a widespread recognition of our shortcomings rather than an attitude of “we was robbed” was evident after we received the adjudicators remarks and a knowledge that we have started to take real steps to address these under Dudley’s direction . Everyone that I spoke to afterwards in the band was demonstrating a real enthusiasm for getting into rehearsals for the area and continuing to work hard on the basics that we need to get right . One other way to look at it- we came 31st out of the 74 bands taking part over the weekend! Always look on the bright side of life! Anyway , introspection aside there was only one thing for it and that was to demonstrate that we Becontree types will celebrate in adversity as well as in victory ! The band male-voice party convened adjacent to the fruit machines in the pub, and soon were treating the gathered crowds to renditions of 'Deep Harmony' , 'Cwm Rhonnda' and many more , although the words were perhaps not those readily associated with these noble tunes . We continued at Jaks night club where the Grimestein Oompah band was in fine fettle , and here too we added a mellifluous vocal accompaniment to the playing of Messrs Lippeat , Roberts et al . BBB'ers-Tom and Neville particularly demonstrated a fine poetic technique , adapting the chosen libretto so that it fitted the changing melodies. Sunday morning, and our friends from Redbridge were in for a rude awakening as they drew the infamous number 1 slot. Those of us offering them our support also had to get out early for the start of the entertainments programme . Many of the band that had stayed on took the opportunity to listen to a lot of the bands on show – this is after all what we are hoping to emulate in terms of style and technique . A long day in the venue ended as once more we found our way to the pub for refreshment , before at the close of play on Sunday night ( or more precisely early Monday morning ) Flugel Alex (a good Salvationist boy) and I were the last men standing when Jaks shut at 2.30am ! So we went home on Monday after a weekend that was an enjoyable one – it was good to get away as a band and have a social occasion . The result is our incentive to continue making improvements to our personal standards and our collective ones, lets really go for it at the areas and make the most of the run-up to it. Thanks to our deps / guests for joining us- Elspeth and Dan, and we hope to be back next year!! Phil Adams-Howell.