Wild horses could not normally drag me within sniffing distance (30 miles approx) of our second city, but the annual Cirque de Tesco was too good to miss. To remain incognito I took to the M40 in a beige Austin Allegro 1.3L, the preferred transport of the Brummie underclass. Just seven hours and four calls to the RAC later I was towed into the VIP car park of the National Motorcycle Museum.

The performance was already in full swing. If this were opera it would have a score by Wagner and a libretto by Dante, but since you, beloved readers, probably think these are centrebacks for Borussia Lederhosen, let's just say it gave every appearance of 200 brothel-keepers trying to organise a cock-up.

Every conceivable nutter was in town. Here a mutant decapitated turtle impersonator, there a bike-chain-wielding "negotiator" from the Teamsters. Moss-clad Friends of the Earth shrieked Celtic birthing chants expressing solidarity with the soil - if anyone's going to identify with clods it's them. And everywhere, the insane clucking of Huge Furry-Whitless's Poultry Liberation Front, dressed in chicken suits.

Big Tel and the rest of the Cheshunt Comintern remained remarkably serene, possibly because the fragrant Lucy Neville-Rolfe's trademark peacock streak in her coiffe has rendered them immune to avian headgear. Security goons ran hither and thither, while spin doctors in black Mormon suits issued statements to the effect that everyone's concerns were being taken seriously.

The low point of the event came as the small minority of proper shareholders were finally released to empty their bladders (sadly, some of the geriatric investors had been unable to wait), only to be confronted with loathsome TV reporters in search of freaks. Frankly, they deserve each other.