Regular visitors to the official professorthrupiece.com website as well as fans and admirers of the Professor himself will need no reminding that Friday 10th July is National Thrupiece Day. Plans for an official fully-responsible, regulation-compliant, socially-distanced celebration are already well in hand, but the inevitable question arises: just how do you commemorate appropriately the life and achievements of an icon with all the necessary joie de vivre without breaking rules designed to prevent everyone from exhibiting any form of spontaneous - even joyful - self-expression. Reports from the RDC suggest that the authorities are already nervous, describing Friday - the 15th Anniversary of the Professor's disappearance from a Swiss hotel room - as "a potential flashpoint" and the perfect storm of "New Year's Eve, World Cup Final Day, August Bank Holiday Monday and Belchalwell Derby Day all rolled into one".
Whilst the reduction of social-distancing rules from 15 metres to 12.567+ will undoubtedly ease the unenviable problems facing organisers - the 70,000 seater Amanda J Threadbone Millennium Stadium in Great Heaving can now accommodate up to 75 people - there will still be many disappointed celebrants whose regular participation will be curtailed this year. Plans for a socially-distanced motorcade through the streets of Moor Crichel were put on hold more than a month ago in order to give participants the chance to stand their vehicles down.
Speaking for the national organising committee - the PTDNOC - Chair Mrs Amanda J Threadbone said that a special task force headed by her deputy Mr Royston Binstock had been charged with making all the necessary arrangements and with trying to ensure that the normal spirit of thankful celebration would continue to characterise the official events marking "this special day in all our lives". She conceded, however, that the culminating three-legged race from Buckland Newton to Gussage St Michael would be "difficult to pull off" under socially-distanced conditions, adding that "water breaks, the provision for up to 8 substitutes, the agreement of the Rules Committee to allow the use of prosthetic limbs as well as the addition of artificially-generated crowd noise" was "no guarantee of success".
Meanwhile the ever-radical citizens of Tarrant Keyneston have vowed to make National Thrupiece Day celebrations in their fair city "business as usual". "We will be thwaking the trykes, perballing the nankles, disinuating our cranstons and immolating St Runcicle just as we always do", said Fete organiser Mark Quay. "Herr Hitler didn't stop our Septuagessima Sunday celebrations in 1942 and no pathetic worn-out, fly-blown, piss-taking, terrorist-inspired imaginary virus is going to damped our spirits on Friday".