Monday, May 05, 2008


I am 34 today. Specifically, I'm thirty-four in about an hour. Naturally, I don't want to be 34. I want to be twenty again, much thinner and less spirit-crushed and pessimistic.

I am also tired and shaky. I am quite literally trembling. For one thing, I have spent this bank holiday weekend in anti-activity mode doing absolutely nothing, to wit; Sat in front of Youtube listening to Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Eddie Izzard, Kathy Griffin (for some reason) and various Daily Show clips whilst playing Spider Solitaire.

And I have spent days doing this. It is for precisely this reason that I refuse to buy Grand Theft Auto or the Sims, for I will play them relentlessly, and achieve nothing with my life.
More so.

The reason I've been watching stand-up comedy (and Kathy Griffin) is because I'm about to write my Best Man's speech for Luke and Sabina's wedding this coming Saturday. And I'm petrified. Speaking in public is laying yourself bare - stood in a room full of silent people as they listen intently to you trying to be funny.

I've decided to write and learn the speech verbatim, because if I hold the speech in my hands, I'll be shaking so much that I'll drop it.

I went to Hippy Dave's wedding last week. It was tremendous fun, particularly after I'd done my reading. Dave wanted me to read the following during the ceremony, from the Adam Sandler film Mr Deeds:

Fifty years have passed by
with laughter and tears
Do you remember when we went to the zoo
and that time we drank all the beers?
I promise to love you for many years more
Even when your bosoms sag down to the floor

All I can remember about the reading was that I was terrified; that there was an attractive woman playing the harp in the background, that we were in the formal setting of a gorgeous Somerset country house, that I had gained a shitload of weight since I last wore my One Generic Suit™ in November and it was like wearing a beige straitjacket and tie. It was so tight in fact, that seconds before I was called up to shatter the formality of the day, I looked down and saw my jacket pulsating rhythmically with the frantic beating of my heart.

That reading took about thirty seconds - mainly because there was an earlier line to the poem that I'd left out by accident. Once that was over, I could enjoy myself. For once, my friends and I weren't the most wrecked. That accolade went to Dave's aunt whose husband had to escort her - pissed - to their nearby room around 4pm, where he locked her in. Apparently, an hour or two later, she was spotted climbing out of the window in an attempt to get back into the venue.

And now, on my birthday, I'm about to compose this speech, a long, rambling dialogue of my own devising, that I will have to perform in five days. I am not lying when I say that I can't enjoy the rest of the wedding - nay, the rest of my life, even - until this is out of the way.


Angela-la-la said...

Somehow saying happy birthday to you seems, just... wrong. Have the least miserable day you can, honey x :)

Z said...

Many happy returns, dear heart.

I often have to speak in public in a spontaneous and yet not unprepared sort of way (vote of thanks and stuff, chairing meetings, nothing as important as your speech). I agree that you shouldn't hold your written-out speech, it's awful to read out a joke. It might be as well to have a few key words on a postcard, just so you don't forget something important.

Don't get plastered before the speech. Sound as if you're confident. Remember that you've been asked because Luke and Sabina want you, it's a compliment. People want to like you and your speech. Don't use the Aisle Altar Hymn joke, because we've all heard it several times.

Just talk, darling. If you talk well as you write, you'll be brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, honey. You'll be great. Really.

Vi said...

Ahhh, what a good day to be born! 10 years ago today I popped out my first son (well, he was wrenched out to be exact.) Just what you want to hear on your birthday! lol

livesbythewoods said...

Many happy returns, hope you enjoy some if not all of your day.

I can remember weddings where a good speech improved the day, but never one where a bad one ruined it. Don't fret, everyone will love you anyway, however well you speak.

Quote said...

Happy Birthday, squire. MHR and all that. And don't fret about the Best Man thing. Everyone is on your side.

Just do the Fornication joke, the Having Sex With The Queen joke, and the TV Aerials Getting Married joke, you'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

Crappy Happy B-Day. You were born alone, you'll die alone.
;-) x

Clarissa said...

You and my Mista. A couple of bulls.

I knew I liked you.

Homer said...

Woo! Birthday twins.

(Except I'm only 31 today. Ha)

Dandelion said...

Happy Birthday! And remember, it could be worse. You could be 35.

Z said...

Hang on, if you were born alone, where was your mother, to whom you were, surely, still umbilically attached? I hate to call anyone an idiot, but Anon comes close.

You're a month and a day younger than my daughter. And I'm still wonderfully young and lovely. Hope you've had a good day.

JamieSmitten said...

Happy Birthday, Stud! (There, does THAT improve your mood??)

luna said...

Happy B,on the new moon at that.It means your life will turn around this year!

As for the speech,it's not an audition for comic stand up showmanship.
Just tell some nice tales about their relationship and who they are.

Peach said...

Happy birthday sweet and hard done by man... your princess will come, your fortune will be found (by you and not your parents in their attic) and happiness is only a moment away...


Paperbag Princess said...

It's your birthday which means you get to be a pain in the arse and demand presents and favours from all and sundry. What's not to love?? ;-)

Sarsparilla said...

Happy Birthday mate, I've enjoyed reading you lately.

C said...

happy birthday!

fwengebola said...

Ang ~ I'm not manic depressive! But thank you, It was unmiserable.
Z ~ Thank you very much. I'm sticking it on postcards and learning it as best I can. Then I'm going to perform it as close to stand-up as I can, but I am going to get blind drunk until it's easy. Should be fine, for a Muslim wedding.
Mar ~ Yay, thanks! Cheers.
Vi ~ That's cool - someone else I know (of) who's born on the same day. And a mere 24 years younger too.
LBTW ~ Thank you, very kind. And good point too.
Quote ~ Cheers. And you left out the wedding cake "being in tiers". I haven't included them, but may improvise, if I'm feeling confident (unlikely).
Anon ~ Aw. that's nice.
Clar ~ Thank you. That's kinda nice.
Homer ~ Excellent, another May 5th-er. Happy Birthday!!
Dand ~ Christ, that's true. Hang on, I'll be in my mid-Thirties next year. JESUS!
Z ~ You're definitely gonna be younger than my Mum. Thanks a lot, though.
JS ~ Yes, that helps a great deal, cheers.
Luna ~ Ah, you're alive. Yes, thanks. But it IS standup, in a sense.
Peach ~ Gosh, that's tremendously nice. Thank you very much, darlin.
PP ~ You don't if you're a 34 year old male. I should've done, really.
Sas ~ Well thank you very much. Cheers!
C ~ Yay, cheers. Although it's now over for another year. Phew.

Z said...

So, how did the speech go?

Anonymous said...

Update please!

fwengebola said...

Z ~ Not too bad in the end. I have written about it since.
Anon ~ All done.