Anyway, as you can probably deduce from the picture, I was at a wedding over the weekend – and a fab one it was too, probably one of the best I’ve ever attended, as it was amazingly relaxed. And I say this despite being the Best Man, so you’d think I’d have been all stressed and harried because of my role, but not so.
Doing the speech was, for an egomaniac like me, a delight, and it went over well; I’ll cheerfully admit that I wanted to get tears from some members of the audience for some of the bits of the speech, and indeed there was some dabbing at the corner of the eyes from some of the attendees (though the cynical might suspect this is more to do with suffering than a surge of emotion). And laughter at other points in the speech, which made my ego swell in a way that I only later realised I’d known before.
It was, I suddenly thought, like the times when I used to dabble at stand-up comedy; when it was going well, you could get the crowd to go with you on some of the more fanciful notions, and the brain seemed to think of things and put them into words faster than you might otherwise have thought possible. Like in writing or painting or many other fun pursuits (yes, even that one) you feel very much one with the moment, and the gap between thought and action is startlingly small.
When it goes badly, on the other hand, it’s embarrassing (though that doesn’t really worry me much, on the basis that it’s only a handful of minutes out of my life, usually in front of people I’ll never see again) but more than anything it feels clunky and awkward, as if the words and the ideas themselves are fundamentally wrong in some way. Professional comedians speak of how a joke that kills one night will itself die a death the next, and though I hardly did that many stand-up spots, I certainly had my fair share of ‘hmm, that one worked fine last time’ moments.
Anyway, that’s all rather by the by (and certainly in the past), though it was interesting to have a taste of it once again. M’colleague has suggested that perhaps I should see about becoming a professional best man, which – like so many things he says – I doubt is at all plausible, but one does see adverts offering the services of professional speechwriters, after all. Maybe I could become the Sam Seaborn of the Wedding Speech world ?
Yes, I know, he’s better-looking than me, but I’m talking about the writing of speeches here, not the power to make women swoon…