Ritual Roast of Keith Dunn (on his 40th birthday) by Adam J Purcell

Published: 13th October 2004

Keith Dunn... What can I say? Well, he's old. He's always been old, even some fifteen and a half years ago (roughly speaking, I think) when I first met him and his, then, wife to be, Karen. That's what he gets for being a decade older (give or take a few months). I'm sure to bring it up quite frequently knowing that the gap isn't going to close.

I've never been very good with names and back then, in the early days when I used to see him and the other members of the 'Schizoid Squad' (a name that faded away long ago) on a Sunday afternoon for roleplaying I knew him only as 'that Vulcan guy'. Yes, it was roleplaying based on the original Star Trek and back then Keith was famous for playing Vulcan characters. He even had a set of rubber Vulcan ears he used to wear. I do wonder what he does with them these days (second thoughts - no, I don't want to know..!)

Nowadays, well for a very long time really, Keith is the roleplaying Games Master. No longer can he indulge his pointy ear fetish. Instead we (the rest of the Staggering Stories team) are amused by his wandering accents - the Welsh Pakistani, who's part Afrikaans, who gradually migrates further around the globe as the game progresses. Then there's the verbal slips. For a while he denied them, claiming that it was us deliberately mishearing him. Well it's not (at least some of the time!). The two immortal ones are: 'hand held pixies' (I think that was meant to be pick axes but I'm not sure) and when describing a female character (who, to me at least, seemed somewhat based on Karen) said she was 'fisteen' (sounding worryingly like 'fisting' at the time!) instead of 'fifteen'. Comedy like that cannot be scriptwrited!

What else can I say about the venerable old gentleman? There were the war crimes. No, not as one of my henchman (though he'd fit right in as such a character, what with his manic grin and 'shock of black hair' (or what's left of it now.)) No, I'm talking about another type of world domination: the board game called Risk. The catalogue of Keith's Risk exploits are long and harrowing and I will only shock you with some of the milder incidents. There's the Daleks. Back in the day (after working down pit) Keith would suddenly spring a group of metal miniature Daleks onto the Risk board, ready to exterminate any of our pieces he would win. Naturally, being Daleks, that wasn't many - the pepper pots are, after all, renowned for being beaten week in, week out. Then there was the curious way that he'd always have two pieces left over after the others had set up their counters on the board, kept in hiding to be placed after he'd seen where everyone else was going. They may possibly, sometime later in the game, have been subtlety maneuvered (perfectly legally) into the Urals where they will multiply when you're not paying attention. The famous 'storming out of the Urals' will then inevitably occur as Keith is all but decimated everywhere else in the world but his now vast army will burst forth from the Urals and change the map green (he always chooses green for his pieces). When beaten, if you're unlucky, Keith might take hostage some of your pieces, rush off to the toilet and urinate on them. Yes, then he would hand them back, after their inhumane treatment. These, and many more, are the reasons Keith has been called before the Risk War Crimes Tribunals.

I'm sure there is much more I can say but I've got to leave some for his next big birthday - 50 (only ten years away and don't the years fly by as you get older!) Will he have calmed down by then, aged with dignity? I doubt it. Yes, he could well be a grandfather by then, so I should leave the best revelations for his young grandchildren! I doubt they will be surprised by any of it, though!

Yes, happy 40th birthday (which happens to be 50 in octal (base 8)) Keith - it's all down hill from here!!