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The 'Robbadom' Challenge

Published on October 17th 2005.

The Scope Curry Week ‘Poppadom Challenge’ descended into farce faster than the crashing down of a tower of the Indian crisps on Friday as the ManchesterConfidential.com team was robbed of a famous victory and a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

By the end of the 45 minute challenge, even Loyd Grossman thought we should have won. “Who builds a tower like this?” asked the former Through The Keyhole peeping Tom, recognising the superior structure of the gallant Man Con foursome’s tower of food. We were left to throw our poppadoms out of the window and destroy our tower with a swipe of an angry foot.

With Tim Mullett hungover and on the phone for much of the competition, it was left to Tristan, Clare Griffiths and myself to build the tower. Up against four other teams initially, we had three quarters of an hour to construct it on the roof top garden of the impressive new Great John Street hotel, although the location of being on top of the roof was a debatable one, with most of the competitors being blown over in the wind, let alone a one metre tall crisp.

The day took a disastrous turn for the worse before the challenge even began when news reached Manchester of an incident on the motorway. Apparently the truck carrying the record breaking poppadoms skidded on some Bhuna and careered into a pillar (or was it a pilau?). All of which left half of the poppadoms in crumbs in the back of the truck, meaning that there wasn’t enough to go round to be able to complete the challenge.

To allow someone to have the chance to gain a place in the record books, two teams honourably dropped out of the running to give someone a chance to take the title of best poppadom tower builder ever 2005. Well done to Tangerine PR and the Scope team for being so honourable (or maybe they were saving themselves from a humiliating defeat!)

The competition got off to a flyer, with Magnetic North taking on the mantle, opting for speed rather than finesse and grand design. We, on the other hand, adopted a more patient approach, creating a balanced and stable structure which would hopefully see us reap the benefits later on.

With the camera crews flocking over to the Magnetic North team to record what looked like an obvious winner, we knew better and sure enough, with half an hour still to go, the not-so-magnetic tower crashed to the ground leaving a widespread devastation of crispy crumbs strewn over a huge area.

As the clean up operation began for them, we moved into the lead, although with the tape measure still only registering our beast at 60cm, there was still a long way to go. At this stage we were neck and neck with the other team – Arora International Hotel.

With Magnetic North making a startling comeback in the last few minutes, Tristan’s photographic memory of the ‘Dummies Guide to Architecture’ paid huge dividends as he demanded more action in supporting the tower lower down in the structure, with bits of broken poppadom being utlised. This meant all hands to the pump, and Tim Mullett off the phone.

Amazing judgement from our team spotted that all we needed a few extra centimetres to make sure of victory and get us over the finishing line. A pair of poppadoms picked up from the floor were rested precariously against each other in a vertical position at the top.

With the tension now unbearable, it was a gamble that needed all four of us guarding against the incoming winds, and floor vibrations from the heavy footed Loyd Grossman.

As the adjuicator chewed the fat excessively with Magnetic North, the top two poppadoms – our ticket to Curry Week stardom - wavered, creaked, cracked and finally flopped over pathetically as the tape measure arrived belatedly.

The final measurement of 101cm was just 1 less than the ‘victors’ – a second measurement taken a few moments later against the re-inserted top two poppadoms showed the measurement as 110cm, a figure that would have comfortably seen us as winners.

Congratulations to Scope for organising the challenge, all for a good cause, and to Magnetic North for the win, although mum-of-a-few Clare is already planning to sabotage the print run of the next edition of the Guinness Book of Records to Tipex in our names to prove to her crying kids that her name really should have been in there as top poppadom builder. Scope's Curry Week is still ongoing - for more Curry Week events, click here.

Watch this space for the re-match…..

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