Ok, this blog is going to be quite long. I’d advise that unless you have at least 12 days at your disposal with which to pour over all the crap I’m about to spew forth in text then you should probably turn back now and look upon the other more valuable areas in your life that need attention. Reading this without warning may lead you to leave the oven on and die, neglect a child till it starves and dies, neglect a cat till it starves and dies, neglect a dog till it starves, eats the cat and the child then dies or just generally bore yourself to death. It has been three days since my last blog and much has happened. Most of it you never need to know, but most of it I will disclose herein. Ready team? Let’s ride the blog-a-coaster. Ok, that doesn’t work. The blogcamotive? The blog flume? Boom. I knew we’d get there eventually. God, today will be a struggle.
The main reason for my lack of blog was because this weekend was my best friend Mat’s wedding to his very lovely wife Hannah. It was, by far, the loveliest wedding I’ve ever been to. I do have bias as Mat’s been a very good friend for a very long time, but it just seemed like they got so many things right that so many others don’t. Its far too easy to have a boring ceremony, to have the whole thing seem as though you’ve ordered the ‘silver package’ online and just churned all the guests into the venue, done everything in order then kicked them out again. Mat and Hannah made a real effort making it all so very personal and also paying great attention to keeping the guests entertained. I won’t take you through all the details but all the aspects of the event were organised by people close to them – cakes by a friend of Mat’s step mum, ceremony performed by their close friend, entertainment by their theatre group etc etc. And on top of that, there was a huge BBQ, a free bar, great live band and enough eye watering lovely moments of people being honest as to how much they love each other that the whole day was as perfect as it could have been.
I was the best man, which I took to mean that not only had Mat honoured me with the tasks that a best man is required to do, but also that I was indeed the best example of mankind that would be there and so, therefore actually, the best man. I told as many people this as possible on the day but not all seemed to agree. Its not my fault I was chosen. They were just jealous I reckon. I’ve only been a best man once before, when myself and Mat were joint best men for our friend Luke’s wedding out in the States. It wasn’t hard, primarily as we were only able to arrive a few days before the wedding, making any previous responsibilities void, and secondly because entertaining Americans was easy being ‘charming British chaps’. This time round it felt a lot more daunting. The whole bit with the rings worried me, feeling constantly sure that despite the fact I’d only be transporting them four footsteps forward and handing them to Dudley who was doing the ceremony, I was sure that I slip up in the second step, fling the ring into the air just as a portal open up and sends it to a parallel universe in the Nth dimension. It almost worried me more than the speech.
I say almost, because by rights the speech shouldn’t have bothered me at all. I do speeches all the time right? I don’t carry rings all the time, so that’s far more out of my depth. I am good at so few things but getting up in front of a crowd and making them laugh should be my forte. And my fivete and sixte. I have invented that term today. I am very pleased with myself. So yeah, the night before the wedding I performed to 350-400 people no problem, and the wedding day was only 120 and I knew them all, so much easier right? Er….Hmm. Turns out that its far far more terrifying. I haven’t been nervous for a gig in such a long time yet on Sunday I spent most of the day terrified. Its not just a ‘gig’ when its your best friend and you have to both warm the audiences hearts while making them laugh about two people you actually care about. There’s that daunting fine line that no one should cross between being too careful and being too offensive. Above all this, a large majority of the audience knew I did stand-up for a living so I felt more under pressure than David Bowie & Queen stuck under a pressure cooker, deep under water hanging out with Jedward and Vanilla Ice.
I didn’t eat much of my main course worrying about it all, and I sat as Mat delivered his brilliant speech thanking everyone and talking about his feelings for his new wife. Then was Mike, Hannah’s dad who told stories of her childhood before reading a poem he’d written which was excellent. Then finally me. Instinct took over hugely, I made jibes about Hannah’s dad’s speech being overlong (all in good jest of course) and the audience went with everything. Even the really mushy stuff at the end. The 12 minutes flew by and I finally sat down and played catch up on the boozing feeling relaxed after a long day of stress. I was so so pleased it went well and honestly couldn’t work out how anyone could do it if they had any problems with public speaking. I was terrified and I felt that I had cheated in terms of my job and experience with structuring such things. I had, in all honesty, only written the speech on Friday night and the wedding was Sunday. I’d mulled it over in my head several times before but I only put pen to paper and structured it that night. How long does it take normally and how scary would it be? While previously I’d have sat at weddings watching the best man speech with full critical eye, I now have a new respect for them all. That and we best men must stick together at being the best examples of our sex.
DOWN WITH THE KIDS
On Saturday I did two shows at the New Wolsley Theatre. The first was my usual thing of performing to under 12’s. I do nearly as many of these gigs as adult ones now and again, definitely my fivete or sixte. The second gig however, was not something I’ve ever done. It was a gig to under 18’s. I know how to entertain adults. I’ve got well over 3-4 hours of material for that sort of thing. Similarly, under 12’s I’ve got covered like a rash. Probably not the best term for something about under 12 year olds. Under 18’s is a whole different bag of fish and kettle of ball games. 12-18 is a large age range and manages to perfectly fit in people who aren’t old enough for all the adult stuff or young enough for the kids stuff. Some of the 16-18 year olds could probably easily sit through a normal set, but the 12 year olds can’t and bogies and talk about pets is going to bore the face off an 18 year old and they really need their faces at that age due to all the self consciousness.
The other acts did really very well that night and I can’t say the same for my set. We had been advised not to swear and so I strode out telling them exactly how much I swore at their age and what I did to keep it inventive. It wasn’t the best start and made me look like ‘that chump who is trying to be down with the kids but is completely out of the loop’. This was then followed by me berating them as I could only buy an Appletise at the bar because of them and eventually I got into my stride, did a load of normal jokes then hit them with some of my politics stuff. I managed to spend the entire 25 mins dancing between entertaining half of the audience at a time. I left feeling like the oldest man alive and realised that at 30, I was old enough to be some of their parents. Its a horrible crushing moment when you really realise you are not seen as cool by an entire generation of people anymore.
I was about to go put a flat cap on and listen to Barry Manilow when I was saved by someone in the audience tweeting me saying they loved the politics stuff and they said I should do a gig to 16-18 year olds so I can say more of that kind of thing. Maybe that’s the key and it should be an under 12’s gig, under 15’s gig and then an under 18’s. Then I’d also get paid three times instead of two.
On Sunday night I had to share a room with my old school chum May. I don’t think we’ve slept in the same room together since sleepovers at the age of about 14, so I felt it only necessary to warn her that unkind comments have been said about my snoring in the time since and I humbly let her have the bed while I had the saw saw inflatable mattress on the floor. One of those whereby if you roll too much to one side, it happily bounces you off the bed in a way that feels like you’re being ejected from sleep. On returning from the wedding I was pretty drunk and proceeded, after scoffing an unnecessarily large amount of crunch nut cornflakes, to pass out in seconds on the rocky pad of snooze. The levels of snoring I apparently emitted were so loud that May spent the majority of the night screaming at me with such incredulousness and disbelief that anyone’s nasal cavities could ever project so much volume. I was informed in the morning that she was screaming things such as ‘you’ve got to be fucking kidding me?’ and even went to so far as to open the bedroom door in the hope that others may hear it and come to her rescue. After her waking me up and me waking her up, I eventually went and slept on the downstairs sofa, sans duvet and woke up with a truly bad back feeling quite guilty.
We spent Monday laughing about it, but its a horrible affliction and has caused many a chum a sleepless night when we’ve shared a room. Yes I should probably do something about it, but it honestly doesn’t seem affected by weight, and although booze makes it amplified little else seems to accentuate or decrease its power. My dad snores as does my brother and it seems a Douieb trait, having tried a few things like those weird nose stickers to stop it, but that just makes my nose feel odd and I still snore but look stupid. Oddly every girlfriend I’ve had and everyone I’ve slept with in the carnal sense has happily slept through it, and as I get older the times in which I have to sleep in the same room as a friend have got less and less, so I’m keeping it. If anything, I’m a tad proud. How many other small 5’5″ people do you know who can do a full impression of a series of pneumatic tools whilst in a complete coma? Maybe I’ll see the doctor about it…..
I got my jacket back from the dry cleaners today after paying them to fix all the inner lining. They’ve done a beautiful job but somehow have completely removed the inner pocket. I’m not sure why they’d do that. Its a long black winter jacket and its inner pocket was there specifically so I could keep important documents in it and hand them to a spy in a park as suspiciously as possible. Has this ever happened? No of course not and I wouldn’t tell you if it did. Will it ever happen? No, probably not. Fact is though, these dry cleaners have assassinated another part of my childish imagination and for that, they will die. As soon as I get a jacket I can hide a contact for a killing in in an inner pocket.