A Wedding in Scotland

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When my brother asked me to be best nan at his wedding, the biggest challenge aside from remembering not to lose the rings was deciding what to say in the best man’s speech. It had include some stories the groom would recognise, but it couldn’t contain too many in-jokes and references that would go over the heads of most of other guests.

Anyway, after many revisions, and one or two anecdotes getting vetoed, this was what I said. It seemed to go down well.

I could tell spend the next ten minutes telling you all what a wonderful person Christopher is, but I am pretty sure all of you know that already. Katrina wouldn’t have agreed to marry him otherwise.

Being his elder brother I’ve known him all his life, which is more than he can say about me. That was even a sore point when we were little; events from before October 5th 1964 could not be talked about.

Let me share one story from when Christopher and I lived under the same roof.

This is about Saturday morning lie-ins.

Whenever I was still in bed for longer that Christopher thought was appropriate for a weekend, I would be rudely awoken by the sound of his record player turned up to Eleven. It was always the same record. It began with the words “Time for you medication”, followed by maniacal laughter, then a monstrous guitar riff.

When you get home, search for “Madhouse” by Anthrax on YouTube. That was my Saturday morning.

There were the occasional Saturdays when I was the first up, when my response to Anthrax was the “Furry alarm clock”. There is nothing quite like putting the cat under the duvet to get someone up in the morning.

So, if you ever find yourself repeatedly awoken by 1980s thrash metal at Far Too Early O’clock on a Saturday morning, you will have to get a cat. Though if you do, never, even confuse him with the cat. “Christopher get down off the table!” really doesn’t go down well.

Chris’ professional life has taken him to many different places, from Poland to Oxford and eventually Swansea, where it always rains. Well, it does whenever I go there. And all the time he had to brave the fierce pigs.

I suppose I had better explain the fierce pigs…

This goes right back to when our ages were still in single digits, I had read a book about wildlife, and it had mentioned wild boar were still found in some parts of Europe. This was just before a family camping holiday in Denmark, and I warned my five year old brother to watch out for the Fierce Pigs.

He spent the whole holiday in fear of the things.

Little did either of us know that Denmark was actually the only country in the whole of Europe that has no native wild boar. There are herds of them in Wales, and they’ve been known to take over entire towns in Poland.

Older brothers can be unintentionally cruel at times.

So, since Chris is a loyal Arsenal fan, I have to include an Arsenal joke…

“Why are Arsenal fans attracted to intelligent women?”
“Because opposites always attract”

Chris is a musician, who is no longer allowed to buy any more keyboards unless the new household also acquires a horse.

But he now has somebody else other than me to ask “Can you listen to this” for each new piece of music he’s recorded. He’s been asking me this since he led a band back in the 1980s who sounded like a cross between Magnum and Hawkwind. It’s just the same now he’s doing industrial metal trumpet and accordion duos.

If in doubt, just say “Oh, it’s deeply symbolic of man’s struggle against his social-political environment” or even “I like the way the bridge resolves the rising chromatic pattern”.

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