Cress 2016 – Let’s go!

Cress – Growing Season – Final Rules

 

  1. These rules supersede and where appropriate replace all previously published rules in relation to this tournament. Okay, wordy start, basically these are the rules. But if something isn’t covered here and was earlier, then we go by that.
  1. The judges decision remains final, even if it seems ludicrous or irrational. These judges are very important people, probably with huge egos (except Bainbridge, obviously, the man is clearly broken).
  1. You can commence growing your seeds once you have posted a photograph of them in their packaging next to your shoes. The picture must be posted on Twitter with two hashtags – #Crexit and #Entry. Look, that means you post a tweet with a picture of your cress seeds next to your shoes and in the tweet you write #Crexit and #Entry. I don’t know if I can make this any more straightforward. I mean, everyone has shoes so I figured this should be manageable, though I have no doubt a fair percentage of you will mess it up. It’s incredible, this is like the loony test we used to do when we were little, except even simpler. God, you people annoy me.
  1. Some of you, because of weird customs officials or the Royal Mail, certainly not due to any error or omission on my part, may have not received any cress. All is not lost. You have two options. If you have access to it, you can buy some Common or Garden Cress (it must be Lepidium sativum). If you do not have access to it then on this occasion, because it’s for charity, I will allow you to improvise. How you do this is your business, but whatever you choose to use must start as seeds and must grow. It cannot be a mammal, bird or fish. However, to be eligible for this option, you must be able to provide a credible explanation as to why you cannot obtain cress and the explanation must be a minimum of 200 words. A separate form will be posted online to allow this explanation.
  1. Your brief is to represent what the year 2016 has meant to you as powerfully as possible using cress as a medium. Although fully-grown cress must make up the bulk of your work, you are allowed to introduce other materials. I’m not going to give any examples of what you could do. This is entirely up to you. Be creative, be imaginative, express yourselves. Keep it decent though. 
  1. Some of you are not as artistic or creative as others. I recognise this (I’ve seen your tweets, it’s like reading Gregg Wallace’s timeline). I wanted to give you a chance of winning something, so excitingly I’ve introduced a new element to the competition. You, the nerds, have your chance, I’m creating a parallel competition, the Engineers Championship if you will. Each competitor will start the competition with an arbitrary 100 points. Points will be awarded and deducted for complying with/failing to comply with instructions. The winner of the Engineers Championship will be the person with the highest number of points at the point that I close the competition. Instructions may be given at any point during the competition but to take into account different time zones, you will be given 12 hours to comply with them.
  1. This is the Holy Grail. If you are able, without breaking any laws, to sabotage another competitor’s entry, you will be eligible, at the judges discretion, to a bonus 50 points.
  1. The competition is being run to test the brutal resolve and creativity of the participants. However, as you may have observed, it is also being used as a medium for obtaining lots of money for Children in Need. The person able to obtain the highest number of retweets for the JustGiving page (www.justgiving.com/Cress2016) will receive an extra 100 points. How you achieve this is up to you. If you can get @Jack or Justin Bieber tweeting about it then you’ve probably won.
  1. Throughout all this it is essential that on any Cress-related tweet you use the hashtag #Crexit. You’ll face having points deducted if you don’t – some members of society have no interest in cress and start blocking us when it keeps appearing unwanted in their timeline. If you use a hashtag they can at least mute it.
  1. Further instructions will be issued throughout the week. It’s up to you to keep up to date with what’s going on. It should be fairly obvious that you need to check Twitter every 12 hours. I’m not chasing after you – if you can’t manage this then you’re open to humiliation.
  1. If you start asking questions for which the answers have already been published, or for which the answers are bleeding obvious, you will be deducted points.
  1. If you are questioning 11 then maybe this isn’t for you.
  1. It is recognised that sometimes people are unable to accept the decisions of those better than them at the first instance. To appease those idiots, an appeals system is in place for those entrants deducted 50 points or more in one single incident. A form will be placed online and appeals will be dealt with within 48 hours. People who end up making multiple appeals face disqualification from both elements of the competition.
  1. Hey ho, let’s go! (I just bought my first Ramones t-shirt)
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Cress 2016 – The Judges

These are the people who are going to look carefully at your work and sort the wheat from the chaff. They’re all highly skilled Cress experts (Crexperts?) with little time for frivolity or nonsense. It’s up to you to impress them. Together they will try and interpret the rules and apply them fairly. This hasn’t really worked in the past.

 

Konnie Huq (@Konnie_Huq)

Konnie probably needs no introduction, but that would be both lazy on my part and unhelpful for some of our international competitors. She was the longest serving female Blue Peter presenter (True! Even Wikipedia confirms it) and accordingly there is probably no one better qualified to judge cress. It doesn’t stop there though, as a panellist she has appeared on 8 out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie to You?, The Wright Stuff and I’m a Celebrity. She’s reported for The Daily Politics, This Week and Daybreak and she’s appeared as a guest on This Morning and Sunday Brunch. This is her first international cress competition.

 

Dr Adam Kay (@amateuradam)

Adam is a comedy writer, musical comedian and presenter. After the conclusion of the 2013 Cress competition Adam fell apart, both metaphorically and physically. He describes the lack of competitive cress growing as leaving an inexplicable emptiness in his life. He managed to keep his spirits up by selling out a series of shows at the Edinburgh Festival, having his own BBC series while script editing a dozen others and performing at Prince Harry’s 30th birthday party. He’s grateful for the opportunity to get his life back on track with Cress 2016.

 

Peredur ap Gwynedd (@Perryguitar666)

Perry is a guitarist with the drum and bass group Pendulum and has headlined with them at Bestival as well as making appearances at Glastonbury and Download. He has previously worked with Natalie Imbruglia, Norman Cook, Tinie Tempah and Sophie Ellis Bextor. Not content with that he is a keen cyclist and commentates on the Tour de France for S4C. He is a busy and successful man and cannot comprehend why he keeps coming back to judge cress competitions.

 

Vivienne Clore (@Vivienneclore)

Vivienne is one of the country’s leading talent agents (clients include Jo Brand, Rufus Hound, Bridget Christie and Susan Calman). She can ill-afford to mess about with “ridiculous competitions that waste my time, my clients time and precious space on the internet. Please stop calling and emailing me. I’ll inform the police if this continues.” This is her second appearance as a cress judge.

 

Gary Bainbridge (@Gary_Bainbridge)

Gary Bainbridge is a writer and columnist for regional newspapers including the Liverpool Echo, Newcastle Chronicle, Birmingham Mail, North Wales Daily Post, and South Wales Echo. He writes things for television sometimes. Gary is variously described by his friends as “Britain’s unluckiest man” and “a tragedy”. Being based in Liverpool, Gary attempted to take part in the judging on the last occasion by videolink. It didn’t work. This time he’ll be making the effort to travel to London.

 

Tiahowler Jon Von Biltawülf (@Biltawulf)

Biltawulf ran his first cress competition in 2011. He organised it after a night out in a pub where he promised someone (he can’t remember who) that he would do it (he can’t remember why). What he anticipated would be an amusing light-hearted competition turned into the most stressful two weeks of his life, dealing with simpletons unable to follow the most basic of rules. He swore never to undertake such a challenge again. Happily he is not a man of his word. This is his third cress competition.

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Cress Stage 2 – Seeding

The application process is over, now the game begins. First of all though, you need some cress. Initially, I was going to limit the cress that I would provide to 100 competitors, with the others having to source their own. That had a negative side to it – most of you are too mean, lazy or apathetic to actually buy your own seeds and there would be a chance the competition would fall apart. So, incredibly generously, I have decided to send seeds to almost all of you. The only people who will still have to buy their own cress are our Australian friends, who have very important laws relating to the importation of fauna and flora, as we’ve all seen in that documentary where everyone ends up with a AUS$200 fine. Well I don’t want anyone getting fined so they need to get their own. Happily cress is available in Australia here. I’ll be sending it to competitors in all other countries – last time it all seemed to get through, but just in case you may want to keep an eye out for your own supplier just in case Customs get a bit weird over it.

Now this is all a bit of a faff, many of you struggled with the simple task of inputting your name and address into a form and I don’t even get a chance to enter, so I think it’s probably about time for you all to give a little back. Quite rightly the rules forbid children from taking part, but that doesn’t stop us helping out the ones who aren’t having a great time of things. I’ve set up a JustGiving page here and would ask that you make a small contribution though it to Children in Need in lieu of the money you’d have had to spend on seeds and postage. It’s not obligatory and no one’s keeping a list. Heck, you can even do it anonymously. It’s your conscience… Oh and great news for those people not taking part, you can donate too!

Okay, I’m going to get the cress to you as quickly as the Royal Mail can manage. I’m hoping everyone will have their seeds by Thursday 24th November 2016 for growing to start on the Friday. DO NOT start growing your cress before then – YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED. Remember, this is not just about how well your cress grows, it’s about how it represents 2016 for you. Of course to decide on the best entries we needed a judging panel and I’m very proud to announce the line-up here.

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Cress 2016 Rules and Application Form

 

Welcome to the World’s Greatest Cress Competition. If you want to know more about it then click here.

Before you enter it’s important you read and understand the rules. By completing and submitting the entry form you acknowledge complete acceptance and willingness to adhere to the rules. NOBODY IS FORCING YOU TO DO THIS.

Good, now that we’re clear, here they are.

  1. The judges’ decision is final. This is pretty straightforward. That said, there will be more than one judge, what if the judges don’t agree? Then obviously we’ll go with the majority decision. But hold on, last time there were six judges, how will this work? I don’t know, maybe appoint seven? Fine.
  1. Entry is initially by way of ballot. Entry applications will be accepted for a period of one week. This is new, what brought this on? Great question, well, it turns out that buying and sending out cress is really, really expensive. Last time I had to send out 238 packs. What if 1,000 people enter? It would cost me a fortune. Are 1,000 people really likely to enter? Look, the internet is weird. 
  1. Only those who enter the initial ballot can take part in the competition. This seems obvious, why would this be a rule? Because although the first 100 entries drawn will be sent their own cress (I will actually put all the entries in a hat and draw them live on Periscope) entry won’t be limited to those who actually receive the Cress Pack, they’ll just be slightly better off. Entrants who aren’t allocated a pack in the ballot will still be able to buy their own cress (from an approved supplier – details to follow). This also allows the citizens of Australia who, because of sensible and rigid rules regarding the importation of flora and fauna have been unable to take part previously, a way in to the competition. See, this is truly a global event – cress has no borders.
  1. This is important and perhaps is really just reiterating rule 3, but you cannot take part without entering the initial ballot. It’s just one of the rules. But why? Look, it helps keep track of who’s actually taking part, I’ve not got a clever computer program to help collate and monitor all of this. I’ve got Twitter and a few bits of A4 paper. Please don’t try and make it harder than it already is.
  1. You’ll need a Twitter account to take part. If you don’t have a Twitter account then sign up online and get one. They’re free. You’d be surprised how upset this can make people – I think they suspect that I work for the FBI and will start monitoring them. God, I’d love to work for the FBI. I’d have a gun and a badge and I’d file reports each morning and then Skinner would tell me just to forget about it and I’d get so angry and frustrated but I’d keep pursuing the case because deep down I’d know how important it was.
  1. After a week I will draw the ballot and Cress Packs will be sent to the successful applicants. Those entrants who weren’t successful, together with any Australian entrants, will be given instructions as to where they can obtain the correct cress seeds. It’s a minor detail, but it’s important that as far as possible, for parity, we’re all using the same stuff. I’m not in the pocket of the cress suppliers, though actually, if any want to cut me in on a deal, I’m all ears.
  1. When discussing the game on social media please use the hashtag #Crexit. This isn’t a weird attempt to get it trending, it’s much more straightforward than that. It’s amazing I know, but some people use social media for things other than talking about cress. They use it for discussing politics, law, music, art, poetry and where to get a link to an illegal live feed of a sporting event. Talk of cress really, inexplicably, annoys them and I end up getting blocked by a lot of people. That hurts, it hurts a lot. By using the hashtag #Crexit, you give these people the chance to mute those tweets.
  1. No one under the age of 18 can take part. Anyone mentioning that their children are growing cress will be disqualified. No. One. Cares. They get everything, apprenticeships, VAT-free shoes, discounts at Cineworld, TWO of their own BBC channels. Well I’m sick of it, this is for grown-ups. Also, it means we can swear without harming their precious little minds. Don’t overdo it, obviously, but every now and then it feels great just to throw an obscenity in there.
  1. Entries must be individual, you cannot enter as a couple. Just weird. Frankly, if you’re entering a competition like this I’d be amazed if you’re in a couple, but there we are.
  1. The judging panel will be selected by me. Judges will not be allowed to enter the competition.
  1. Names of judges and their BACS details will be publicly available.
  1. Photographs of your cress will be required at both the start and end of the competition and perhaps, halfway through. These photographs need to be well-lit and of a decent resolution. There’s no excuse for not managing this anymore. If the camera on your phone is really that bad, then borrow someone else’s. It’s hard enough judging this stuff anyway, at least give us a chance. Also, last time I ended up putting some entries up on a big screen – this is impossible if they are all blocky.
  1. By entering you surrender all intellectual property rights to the pictures of your cress and any associated tweets. Look I don’t make any money out of this, but if some publisher comes along and offers me a six-album deal then of course I’m going to take it and don’t want to have to come running to you for permission. Also, I’ll leave your Twitter name next to the photo anyway as otherwise it’s just a picture of some cress.
  1. I will give 3 days notice of the starting date of the competition. This will be a time when I am satisfied that the vast bulk of entrants have received their cress.
  1. You start growing at the same time as everyone else. This can easily be monitored by me posting a codeword for you to photograph next to your seeds on day one. Your photo must be submitted within 12 hours of the start time. If you can’t manage this, then you’re out. You’d think that instruction would be fairly straightforward, but no, people even mess this up.
  1. The growing period will be for a period of not more and not less than 8 days. We could just say 8 days.
  1. At the end of the growing period, entrants will have a maximum of 12 hours to submit their entries. Don’t give me any of that nonsense about being away from home or something. You’ve got 12 hours. Take the stuff with you, plan your life better, I don’t know, be an adult.
  1. The winners will be published online. If prizes are awarded they will be sent out within 7 days. I don’t think I ever got round to sending out a prize last time, I had a lot going on in my life. You don’t need to know about it. Anyway, I’m out of prison now if you have to know.
  1. If you are disqualified then there will be an opportunity to appeal your disqualification. The appeals process will be open and in writing. Accordingly, whilst the appeals process is underway you should continue to grow your cress.
  1. Your entry must be all your own work.
  1. Your brief is to represent what the year 2016 has meant to you as powerfully as possible using cress as a medium. Although fully-grown cress must make up the bulk of your work, you are allowed to introduce other materials. Be creative, be imaginative, express yourselves. Keep it decent though. 
  1. The final work must be viewable as a still photograph. Videos will be accepted for extra kudos, but will not be considered as part of the judging process.
  1. The rules are subject to emergency amendment should circumstances require it. If I get annoyed with your constant criticism or questioning I’ll disqualify you.

50.   This is a secret rule too important to explain to the plebs.

Good luck.

Enter here.

Entries will be accepted up until 3pm GMT on Thursday 17th November 2016.

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Cress 2016 – #Crexit

Good things come in threes. Omne trium perfectum.

Third in a series is always the best. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Return of the Jedi and Beverley Hills Cop 3 are just a few terrible examples of this.

The inaugural cress competition took place in 2011 with 40 wide-eyed innocent competitors growing cress on little bits of cotton wool and taking terrible quality photographs of the results. It was fun, but also frustrating as I discovered for the first time how utterly incapable people were of following the most basic instructions.

In 2013, after I’d vowed never to run the competition again, 238 people took part. It was chaotic and appallingly organised. If I wasn’t drinking fairly heavily at the time I certainly was by the end of it. Despite having 5 top quality judges (and me) something was still wrong with the format. It may have been the large quantity of wine consumed, but in the end, most of the plates of cress looked pretty much the same.

In 2014 and 2015 I toyed with the idea of another competition, but really, what was the point? It would be a lot of admin (I had two jobs already and really didn’t need a third) and in all likelihood would be the same all over again. I think maybe I’d lost my cress mojo. I decided not to go ahead with another competition.

Then 2016 happened. 2016 has been a year. An awful year. So many wonderful people have died. Actually, by the end of the year almost 56 million people will have died worldwide. Never have so many people died in one year. Not only that, but things seem to have gone mad in society itself. Brexit, Trump, ISIS, it’s all coming together like a perfect storm. A few thousand years ago God would have sent a flood to deal with it, or knocked down a massive tower. I’m not God. I can’t do either of those things. What I can do is organise a semi-decent cress competition. Well, I can organise a cress competition.

But this alone doesn’t work. There needs to be more to it. And there is. This year, I’ve decided to search for positivity, to encourage creativity, to embrace art. This year there is almost a point to it. There’s certainly going to be something for us to judge.

This year, for Cress 2016 (Crexit, if you will), I’ll be sending out a Cress Pack as usual – you’ll get the same amount of seeds as everyone else and a set of rules designed to trip up the less attentive of you, but that’s where the similarities end. This year you’ll have the freedom to express yourselves using the medium of cress. From the time the competition starts you’ll have eight days to produce a piece of cress-based art that represents 2016 for you. I won’t dictate what surfaces you grow it on, I won’t make you measure it with a metal ruler, heck, I won’t even stop you using blown-out egg shells (though you won’t win if you do). That’s a fairly generous brief, and I hope you’ll make the most of it.

As ever aggressive trolling is actively encouraged and children (bless those little angels) are banned from entering.

The judges decision will be final. After all, Crexit means Crexit. x

Oh, yeah, the application process will open on Thursday 10th November 2016.

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Cress 2013 Results

The winners of #Cress2013 have been decided. 

 

CIVILIAN ENTRANTS

1st place – @LucyLyons

2nd place – @Gillpea

 

CELEBRITY ENTRANTS

1st place – @Lesdennis

5th place – @driverminnie

(note that places 2nd to 4th were not awarded as no suitable applicants)

 

Signed this day, the 19th of November 2013

@Biltawulf 

@amateuradam

@dannywallace

@gary_bainbridge

@vivienneclore

@perryguitar666

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Cress 2013 – the final round

We’re eight days in and have reached the stage where your cress should be at its peak. 

All that remains is for you to submit your final photo. There are, of course, a few minor (but vital) conditions. You must read them all before making your submission.

(1) Your cress must still be on the same saucer. 

(2) You must have a metal tape measure in the picture which clearly shows the height of the cress (from root to tip).

(3)

Before we can bid you farewell

A limerick first you must tell

Your tales of success

Of growing fine cress

(And also the godawful smell) 

(The limerick must be handwritten and your own work. It must appear in the same picture as your cress. Anti-plagiarism software will be employed),

(4) A coin must be clearly visible in the picture.

(5) Your Twitter name must also be clear on the same piece of paper as the limerick.

(6) Poor quality photographs will result in disqualification. 

(7) In advance of the anticipated wave of disqualifications you must also take a photograph of your saucer without the cress on it. It is anticipated that a number of entries will be disqualified due to the use of unauthorised vessels. You will need to use your metal tape measure again to show the diameter of the saucer. Do not submit this photograph unless it is specifically requested. Unsolicited saucer shots will result in disqualification. 

(8) The picture must be submitted by midday on Saturday (UK time). Failure to do so will result in disqualification. 

(9) The picture must be submitted from the user’s own Twitter account. Pictures submitted from other accounts simply copying in the user’s name will not be accepted. 

(10) Rule 4 must be ignored. 

(11) The accompanying tweet must include “@biltawulf” and the hashtag #Cress2013

(12) No questions can be asked about the above rules. 

 

Good luck. Judging will take place on Tuesday 19th November 2013. 

 

 

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