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Love. Stories. on Valentine's Day - 14th Feb 24

The perfect date for a night of Love Stories and a lovely one at that thanks to the brilliant work and support of Kandu-Arts for Sustainable Development. The Rotary Hall in Chippenham was decorated with more hearts, lips and lighting than I've ever seen before, with great staging and visuals to boot. On a warm night in February, with a lovely audience, we created this…

A Careless Whisper entrance, murdered on the Kazoo.

There were poppies in a barley field, that were too romantic for Mills & Boon.

A first in The World Cup of Love Songs - extra time in the second semi-final. Here are the results.

Semi-Final 1: I just called to say I love you by Stevie Wonder v Snuff by Slipknot

Result: I just called to say I love you 3 - 7 Snuff

Semi-Final 2: (Everything I do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams v Fields of Gold by Eva Cassidy

At Full time: (Everything I do) I Do It For You 4 - 4 Fields of Gold

Result after Extra Time: (Everything I do) I Do It For You 7 - 9 Fields of Gold

World Cup of Love Songs Final

Result: Snuff 8 - 5 Fields of Gold

Congratulations to Slipknot and the World Cup Winner in the room.

The audience made reckless choices for Humi and put her in danger on Chippenham's dark streets. Luckily, Lizzo intervened and if you don't mind me saying it, 'About damn time.'

In Mark's best and worst romantic moments, there was an early hurts. As ever, thanks to the NHS.

The audience shared some beautiful and funny love stories too.

Talking of hurt, after a long time 'really, really fancying' a chap, there was a teenage friendship that got all romantic after a motorbike ride - nice one. Until the nerves kicked in and an accidental, but nonetheless, sharp and forceful knee struck a soft (or was it hard) target. Ouch! (Mark's note: this puts a dislocated thumb into perspective).

Another teenage mishap that got us asking, which emergency service would you call for that? You are asleep in your boyfriend's room. In a genuine mistake, the boyfriend leaves for the day and locks you in. If you were the trapped girlfriend, waking with an urgent need for the loo and no signal on your phone, what would you do? The answer 999 apparently and wee in a pint glass.

Next there was a break-up...delivered on a train journey back from Weston--Super-Mare. How do you break-up in such a confined yet public place? We were given a clue - creatively. You're going to have to work this one out for yourself. Can you guess:

By _l_y_ng_ _ g_m_ _f h_ngm_n *

We were taken back to the 80s and a double-romantic gesture that was better than double-denim. A guitarist in a band said, 'close your eyes,' and then played a beautiful song on acoustic guitar for his love - the lead singer. Not just that, at the end he said 'this is for you,' and handed over the guitar. Double-points to that man and the singer too, because she still owns and still plays that guitar. Aaahh.

And finally, we celebrated a beautiful love that lasted 24 years of marriage. We celebrated the genius and commitment to love, delivered in daily Post-It notes from a husband to his wife to remind her why he loved her. Notes that were discovered during the day - in the microwave, in the underwear drawer and all around the house. Even mundane office stationery can be in your toolkit of love and happiness. Even the daily sound of tyres on gravel can make your heart skip a beat as you rush to the window. A beautiful story to end and an inspiration to us all.

Huge thanks to everyone that opened their hearts to share their stories – you were amazing.

There was heartache in a declaration called Ting that said 'I need you to know and'

And a visiting alien saw happiness and commitment and preening that 'almost matches that of Puffins.'

Huge thanks to Ed, Laura, Donna, Sam, Jasmine, Conor, Charlie and others at Kandu Arts who made this such a smashing night. Check out and support the brilliant work they do in the community. You can also donate here.

Heart-felt thanks for everyone who took a chance on love and made a show with me.

Mark xx

*No, I'm not telling.


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