Cress 2013 – Day 1

So this is it. You’ve got your seeds, you’ve got your saucer and you’ve got an enormous amount of enthusiasm. Now you want to begin. 

Here’s how;

(1) You need to plant your seeds in your saucer (remember, no saucer means you’re disqualified). 

(2) You can use cotton wool as your base in the saucer, but if you want to try something more exciting, that’s okay too. 

(3) You need to take a picture of your seeds in situ. Next to the seeds on a piece of paper you need to write the codeword. Actually it’s a codephrase. Though the rules forbid any charity fundraising to be done through Cress2013 they do not forbid people from being nice. Therefore, given it is but a week away, the phrase is “Support Children in Need”. 

(4) Underneath the codephrase you need to write your Twitter name. Failure to do so will result in disqualification. 

(5) Post the picture to me on Twitter. Make sure you use the hashtag #Cress2013. Failure to do so is likely to result in disqualification. 

(6) Don’t ask me any questions that have already been covered in the rules. Refresh your memory by re-reading (or reading) the rules (below). Any dumb questions may lead to disqualification. 

(7) Extra Cress points may be awarded for including your own face in your photograph. Cress points may be a useful asset when the judges consider disqualification. 

(8) I think that’s it, don’t worry if you can’t get this picture in tonight, you’ve got until Saturday at midday (UK time). Failure to have submitted it by then will result in disqualification. 

(9) Ready

(10) Steady

(11) GROW!


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Cress 2013 Judging Panel

In light of this year’s complicated rule structure a dedicated and ruthless panel have been put together to oversee the final decision.

Further to earlier editions of this post there is now a woman judge. Truly, we are in 2013.

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.

Dr Adam Kay (@amateuradam)

Adam is a comedy writer and lifelong cress enthusiast. He first grew cress at the age of 5 at a nursery in Dulwich, and has been hooked ever since – growing cress every 26 years since then. He is an extremely judgemental person, and was therefore the natural choice for the role of judge.

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. Despite having appeared as a judge on the Welsh talent show  “Waw Ffactor”, he was utterly confused by the invitation to join the panel of judges and said yes in a moment of blind panic.

Danny Wallace (@dannywallace)

Danny is a filmmaker, comedian, writer, actor and presenter. His 2005 book “Yes Man” was turned into a major Hollywood movie starring Jim Carrey. He has a weekly column in Shortlist Magazine. His Wikipedia entry reads like he is a man who has done everything. Yet Danny has never been a judge in an international cress competition. He is looking forward immensely to remedying this failure.

Gary Bainbridge (@Gary_Bainbridge)

Gary is a writer and columnist for the Liverpool Daily Post. He is also the author of the commercially acclaimed book “The Man With The Complicated Voucher” and has just released his latest epic “A Snid of Milk”. Gary is ambivalent about judging cress and senses it’ll be just another enormous waste of his time.

Vivienne Clore (@Vivienneclore)

Vivienne is an established talent agent (Jo Brand, Rufus Hound, Bridget Christie and Susan Calman to name but a few) of many decades standing (and many more sitting) due in part to a fondness for sprouting and nurturing seeds. She loved to grow cress as a child and many were the sodden layers of tissues discarded after a successful growth spurt.  She says that in honour of being asked to judge this cress growing flashmob , she has changed her Twitter name to Cressida Clore.  Bizarrely she also claims that she will be the best judge “cos let’s face it I’m the only woman”. She expects to obtain the exclusive agenting rights to the winning cress.

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Cress 2013 – The Rules

Below are the rules for Cress 2013.

Cress Packs will be sent out early next week. The judging panel will be announced here shortly.

  1. The judges’ decision on all matters will be final.
  2. The competition is entirely self-funded. Any entrants who attempt to make a donation towards costs will be seen as committing bribery and immediately disqualified.
  3. The competition is not being run to assist any charity. This will be a tough and at times, mean-spirited event. By the end, no charity will want to be associated with it. Any entrant suggesting that donations could be made towards any charity will be disqualified immediately.
  4. Each competitor will receive their own “Cress Pack”. Each Cress Pack will contain a pre-measured amount of cress in one of those little plastic bags that drug dealers sell cannabis in. None of the plastic bags sent out in the Cress Packs will contain Cannabis.
  5. Due to meddling customs officials, Cress Packs sent overseas will arrive complete with a commercially wrapped packet of cress. It’s a bit more expensive for me and maybe next time these entrants should consider not living overseas. Entrants receiving these packs will receive additional guidance on how much cress they should be planting.
  6. Anybody complaining about any aspect of the organisation of the competition will be disqualified immediately.
  7. All cress must be grown in a saucer.
  8. Anyone without a saucer will be disqualified immediately (what sort of animals are you?).
  9. Any entrant who uses a growing vessel other than a saucer will be disqualified immediately.
  10. Cotton wool is the usual base for growing cress. This year however, experimentation is encouraged.
  11. On the first day of the competition (to be announced when we are satisfied that the majority of Cress Packs have been received a code word will be released on Twitter. Entrants must take a photograph of their cress seeds in the saucer alongside the code word written on a piece of paper. This ensures that no entrants will be able to get a head start. All photographs must be posted using the hashtag #Cress2013.
  12. Anyone failing to use the hashtag #Cress2013 when posting photos will be disqualified. The reason for the hashtag is to allow those without any interest in Cress (the majority of decent, normal people) to mute tweets about it from their timelines.
  13. Anyone misspelling the codeword will be disqualified.
  14. On day 4 of the competition a further code word will be issued. Entrants must again take a photograph of their cress alongside the codeword using the hashtag #Cress2013. Failure to do so will result in disqualification.
  15. On day 8 of the competition a final codeword will be issued. Again a photograph must be taken and tweeted using the hashtag #Cress2013. This will be your entry to go before the judges. A metal tape measure must be placed next to the cress so height can be assessed.
  16. During the competition anyone sending unsolicited pictures of cress to any of the judges will be disqualified. Nobody has any interest in cress.
  17. Anyone mentioning that their children are growing cress will be disqualified. They are not eligible for the competition.
  18. In contrast to the previous competition experimentation with growing techniques will be encouraged. Feel free to use hydroponic systems and advanced nutritional methods.
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Cress Competition 2013

So it’s happening. Two years ago I swore that I would never organise such a ridiculous event again. The whole thing was an utter shambles. People were unable to follow simple rules, bombarded me with inane questions and generally caused me two weeks of utter stress and simple frustration with the entire human race. Still, this is how it ended up.

Never mind, I need to fill some of my time so we’re going with it once more. Here is the basic deal.

I will send you free of charge a pack of cress seeds and a set of rules. You will follow the rules to the letter or be disqualified.

The ultimate aim is to grow the best cress in the time that I decide. Marks will be deducted for ridiculous questions, mould growing on the cress, racism and any other factors that I and the other judges (who I will appoint) decide upon.

Most importantly, this is not for charity. Too much stuff is and we all get sick of people asking for money so, just once, let’s do it for fun. If it turns out not to be fun I will not be held responsible.

Also, wherever you grow your cress, be warned, after a few days, it will stink.

The winner will receive a prize. It might be good, but it probably won’t. It’s the taking part, right?

You will need to be prepared to enter your full postal address on the form that I set up. I won’t use the information you provide for anything else because I have nothing to sell to you. I’ll ask for your real name and your Twitter name. It’s easier if you provide your real name (I won’t disclose it) in case you have to pick up your packet from the Post Office.

I’m probably going to limit this to 200 entrants (unless someone gives me loads of money – I’m not a charity either).

Entrants from outside the UK may struggle depending on the Post Office rules for sending cress. We’ll see.

Any questions – I’ll disqualify you. I hope that’s clear.

Here’s the application form [SORRY, ENTRIES ARE NOW CLOSED]

Good luck

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I challenged around 40 people to grow cress. I will never do such a thing again. Here are the results.

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