Sam and the Hairy Bikers

“Who are you and what do you do?”
“My name’s Sam and I’m a blogger.”

Oh dear. What started out as a pleasant night out in Torquay became another one of those experiences I will remember forever with a mix of heart-swelling joy and soul-crushing embarrassment. We went to see the Hairy Bikers do their “Larger Than Live” show at the Princess Theatre. A friend on Twitter who had seen the show several weeks before me told me that if I get a chance to go on stage, I should.

Si King and Dave Myers put on a hell of a show. There’s singing, dancing, laughs and cooking. And when they cook, they ask for volunteers out of the audience to go up on stage and eat. In the second half, as Si hovered in the audience for a volunteer, I had just about got the idea of getting up on the stage out of my head when I felt a hand on my shoulder. “You’re coming with me.” Ulp.

And for one glorious moment I decided my weight didn’t matter. Regardless of the fat I would get up there, I would be brave, I would be delightful and I would make Si and Dave proud. I was confident and felt good. That confidence didn’t last long once the realisation set in that I was about to eat in front of over a thousand people. Si asked me about blogging, and I mentioned my Pre-Op Rambling series. He gave me a hug and wished me the best. The audience applauded.

I’ve done some strange things in my time, but sitting at a dining table while the Hairy Effin Bikers waited on me and chatted with me… that about tops the list now.

I didn’t eat much of the food. What I did have was absolutely delicious, though. Want a “weird old tip” for weight loss? Eat on stage. In front of a big audience, with two National Treasures waiting on you. The shakes alone will halve your calorie intake.

I was on a massive high after the show, and although I was a bit worn out the following day still felt pretty chirpy about my experience. It was all lovely until my dodgy self-esteem came a’knocking after this appeared on the Hairy Bikers’ Twitter feed:

“@HairyBikers Probably if you have a morbidly obese person up on stage eating your calorific food – bad taste/timing to make fat girl jokes”

You know what? I loathe that term “morbidly obese”. I don’t know whether the lady who sent this tweet was genuinely concerned for my emotional wellbeing, or if she was your typical Daily Mail reader type wishing to turn this into a ‘thing’ (hairygate?).

There were a couple of fat jokes and yes, maybe this time last year they would have hurt. The first one was Dave asking why fat girls always wear leggings. I think he meant it as a rhetorical question, but since I was there I figured I may as well answer it for him. “Because it’s all we can bloody well buy” I shouted from my seat. He looked across at me and smiled. I could have added that with my body in its current shocking state anything I wear looks like leggings. But I didn’t. The second fat joke, told while I was up on stage nervously tucking in to the food they’d prepared for me affected me so deeply I can’t even remember what it was. I’m still very sensitive about jokes and comments about my size, but on this occasion, it was done in such a way that it didn’t hurt at all.

This lady’s tweet did make me briefly feel regret at going on stage. I’m in a transitional phase in my life as I work on turning things around. If my life was a film this bit would be the montage, backed with some motivational soft rock from Foreigner or Journey. Instead of it being a cheery five minute piece of uplifting footage, it’s a battle that’s been going on for 18 months and shows no sign of an end yet. Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll get a bit closer to that magic referral to Taunton and a bit closer to getting the op that will really help turn things around for me.

I had a brief conversation with Dave on Twitter after the concerned lady expressed her concerned concerns with such concern (how lovely), and his last tweet to me I shall cherish as much as the flowers he threw at me at the end of the show:

“@Sandall73 you will get there and you will feel amazing.”

I’m just one of the hundreds of people the Hairy Bikers will have met on their massive tour of the UK and I’m sure as time goes on that time in Torquay will fade from their collective memory. It’s something I will never forget and now I feel as though I have the support of these two wonderful chaps, the Morecambe and Wise of food.

The lads still have a fair few stops on to go on their tour. Their show is definitely worth seeing, and I echo the advice from my friend – if you get a chance to go on stage with them, do it. Your tastebuds will thank you and your ego will forgive you eventually.

And if you don’t believe the Hairy Bikers rock – get a load of this: