Monday, 31 March 2008

Best Man?

First, please accept my apologies for missing a weeks BLOG. I had taken what I thought would be a well deserved rest in the UK – how wrong could I have been?
I arrived back in the UK on Wednesday 21st March, after a nearly 13 hour flight – delayed due to a diversion from the normal route – The pilot informed us that apparently Beijing is now a ‘no-go’ zone for international flights. In an attempt to reduce pollution flights not directly taking off or landing in Beijing are not allowed into the cities air space (sorry my poor use of grammar will undoubtedly fire off a rally of abuse from the anal retentive amongst my readers – no apologies, you don’t like what I write or how I write it – read something else!).

Back to my reasons for being rushed off my feet whilst on vacation. Well for me this was just a normal bi-monthly visit back to the UK – whereas my family hadn’t returned to the UK for over 15 months. So they wanted to fit in as much as possible in the 10 or so days we were in Blighty. We had to fit in visits to family, friends, acquaintances and work colleagues, days with my bosses in Coventry, meetings with the writers, editors and producers of the forthcoming (hopefully) production, and of course the main reason for the trip back – my brothers wedding.
I had been asked to be best man by my brother some 9 months earlier when they announced their engagement. Being best man was explained to me as “like being asked to kiss the queen”, and incredible honor - that no one really wants! I didn’t feel like that, however I was quite embarrassed, whilst extremely close to my ‘little’ (He is 2meters tall and counting) brother – he has some fantastic friends who have been close friends with my brother since children at the age of 3. These were much more deserving of the task than me – someone who had escaped the turmoil’s of family life for isolation in China. When asked I thought – great lots of time to develop a cracking speech. 9 months preparation into what should / shouldn’t be said, time to create a balance between sentiment and humor, and hopefully develop a relationship with this new and unknown family that would become my brothers ‘in-laws’.
I have had lots of opportunities to talk in public before, and wasn’t necessarily nervous about the whole thing, after all the audience should be well watered and had no crosses to bare against either me or the bride and groom – a welcoming audience, just looking for a slice of entertainment during an otherwise long day.
But, as the day got closer I became more and more apprehensive. Most of my family hadn’t seen my for several years (at least 2), I had left for China as a boy – I had to return as a man! What if I fluffed my words? What if I froze? What if I wasn’t funny – or even worse I was embarrassingly abusive? Despite the 9 months notice I had left writing the speech until the very last day, I didn’t have time to rehearse or review – I just had to go with what I had.
Here is what I had planed to say – but I must admit to adlibbing quite a lot, not necessarily due to confidence – more to do with reacting to the heckling and the copious amounts of alcohol I had consumed prior to the big moment. “I would just like to say thanks for the introduction, and I hope that everyone has enjoyed themselves so far, I know you all want to get to the bar and when I’m speaking I don’t object to people looking at their watches, however I do get upset when they start shaking them to make sure they are working.

Despite being Martins favorite brother, I have to admit to feeling a little bit guilty at being nominated as Martins Best man, So to make amends I would like Martins first and second choices for Best Men to stand and take a bow – Mark and Craig please stand.
Both Martin and myself have known Craig & Mark a long time – too long perhaps!
To Martin, Mark and Craig have been loyal, trustworthy, compassionate and faithful friends through thick and thin. They have shared your triumphs, your disasters, and your good and bad times and in some cases they have even shared your prison cell.

You are both far more deserving as Martins best friends to do this job – however Gabby decided that for two reasons you probably weren’t suitable:
1. You know far too much about Martin’s seedy past, and
2. You were far too ugly to appear on the wedding photos.

You can sit now boys.

This is my first (and probably last) time as a best man and one of the difficulties for a best man virgin, is knowing how long your speech should last, having consulted many of you before this big day, the consensus seems to be that the speech should last as long as the grooms love making – so without any delay, I would like to thank you for your attention and wish you all a great day. (At this point I sat down, before starting again)

Whilst my job is to talk about Martin, I do have to congratulate the Bride, the bridesmaids and of course the flower girls on a fantastic turnout, you all look stunning and have provided a ray of sunshine on what weather wise would be a fairly dull day.

I hope that now the stressful bit is over you can sit back and relax and enjoy the rest of the day.
If any of you have been wondering just how stressful the whole wedding preparation has been – well 6 months ago when this all started Martin had hair as long as mine!

I know it is customarily as best man to completely embarrass, and ridicule the groom.. However I must admit to being a little worried about this task, one reason is because of my deep respect for Martin and my love for him and his new bride, and the other because of my throat – Gabby said she would cut it if I said anything bad.

I haven’t known Gabby that long, but what I do know is that she is a fantastic person, kind, generous, loving and one of those people who has the ability to recognize and appreciate inner beauty – which is just as well really.

By marrying Martin, Gabby has been an inspiration to all of those people out there who believe in lost causes, not to say that Martin was a complete lost cause, but ever since his first arrest at the age of 6, Martin has been a bit wayward, I don’t want to exaggerate this – but he is on first name terms with the cleaners at Solihull police station.

Still Gabby has had a calming influence on his illegal activities and even his famous wandering eye; although to be honest it wasn’t so much of a wandering eye - more a nomadic penis.

I know it’s coarse to talk about Martin’s previous encounters with the opposite sex, and to even discuss just how many lovers he has had – so I won’t go into any detail and will leave by saying that 94 must have been his lucky number.

Still all of that is behind him now and from what I’ve heard was occasionally behind him whilst he lived in Germany.

At this point I would have liked to show you all a few photos of Martin growing up – but the truth is that at the age of about 14 Martin decided that he would put all of his baby and junior pictures into the washing machine – his idea was to avoid his best man showing them to everyone at his wedding. (Bastard)
Which means that I missed the opportunity to show everyone old photographs of him with his tackle out – not to worry I do have a DVD here, and copies are available on eBay!

Before I finish my wife insisted that I give some marital advice to Gabby.

First trust your husband, adore your husband, and get as much as you can in your own name.
Remember - All marriages are happy; it’s living together afterwards that is difficult.
And finally men are like tiled floors, lay them right the first time, and you can walk over them for years.

To even the balance I would like to offer some words to Martin in return:

Remember women are meant to be loved, not understood.
Set the ground rules straight away and establish who the boss is - then do everything Gabby says.
The body of a young woman is one of god’s greatest gifts, it’s just a shame he didn’t design it to last.

And finally to both of you:

In the first year of marriage the husband talks and the wife listens.
In the second year of marriage the wife talks and the husband listens.
In the third year of marriage they both talk so loud the neighbors listen.

I think everyone has heard enough from me, but in a vain attempt to recover any sense of decorum. I would like to finish by saying that I think you make a wonderful couple, Gabby you are young, beautiful, kind, sexy and wonderfully warm person, whilst you Martin are well – bloody lucky!

I love you both with all my heart and know that you have a fantastic and special relationship that will survive the worse things that life will throw at you, and excel in the best it has to offer.

So for the last time could everyone please raise their glasses – to the bride and groom, Martin and Gabby. "

Nw I’m not sure if it was a good speech or not – it raised a few laughs, no one hit me, and everyone was still talking to me afterwards. Like all speeches I was nervous before I did it, and wanted to do it again once I had finished. If any one out there is about to be a best man (Or women) I hope I have provided a little bit of inspiration, hell I could have done with it before writing mine!

The day was fantastic, and ended with me getting extremely drunk and trying my John Travolta impersonations – unfortunately I don’t have any photos of that. However I understand the whole thing was videoed and is probably coming to ‘You Tube” very soon!

(I do have to point out that my brother has never been in trouble with the police – and what I said about his previous history with women was a pure opportunist moment to get my own back on him for releasing my pet mouse into the wild when I was only 8 years old)


Anonymous said...

Gabby & Martin here, Thank you so much for your speech Paul, it was amusing seeing you getting more & more nervous, we had a wonderful day and we where so glad that you could be a main part of it - even if Paul thinks he didn't deserve to be best man, we believe he did - lots of love G & M xxx

Paul Stowe said...

Thank Gabby, I guess watching me get nervous was more amusing than the speech itself – I hope that took some of the nerves away from you and Martin – you both looked extremely cool throughout the day!