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Sunday, November 20, 2005

With This Bling Bling I Thee Wed

Saturday. The weather is crap and rainy. Matt is 70km away, at Ground Zero, waiting for his speech to be faxed through. We have the speech somewhere in our car and currently on the way to Merricks North, a piece of land, possibly named after J.Merrick the Elephant man, somewhere near Mornington Peninsula, desperately looking for a place that has a fax machine. In the car: Cat, driving with only three hours of sleep, Tom, a dude who had just come back from England who I had met just ten minutes ago at St.Kilda Junction and myself. It is the day of Clark and Hayley's wedding.

A Brief Detour where I Get The Blame- Cat, Tom and I pull into Moorooduc Estate, Moorooduc, which can easily be reached by veering off right from the Moorooduc Highway down Bentons road ( where the Melways actually has DANGEROUS INTERSECTION indicated and where I was expecting a pile of mangled cars to be burning merrily) We went another way- the Fatman route. 'That,' Cat says to me as she parked the car, 'is the last time you navigate.' Cat is a self-confessed foul-mouthed, chain smoking, chatterbox who was yet to learn how lost one can get traveling country roads. By the end of the day our fifteen minute detour would seem like nothing.

Damn' City Folk- Moorooduc Estate is a winery where out-of-towners can stay in the Gregory Burgess-designed accommodation and drink the fermented juice of grapes that have collected the sunlight and whatnot from their north facing, elevated slopes. It's the kind of place where you might trip over the peacock if you're not looking. We are greeted by Jill, the proprietor of the place. Jill looks at the two uncouth lads standing in front of her, looks at Cat and asks Cat if she would like to get dressed for the wedding in Matt's room. 'There is one problem though,' says Jill,' we still haven't cleaned up all of the smashed wine bottle from last night.' Friggin' Matt. He's been here one night and we've already been tagged as 'problematic'. In Jill's eyes we had already become 'them city folk' from some sin-infested Soddom and Gomorrah with our fancy cars ( Cat drives a '98 Mitsubishi Mirage), our complaining of their sub-standard coffees and our nightly sacrifices of goats to a weird array of Dark Gods.

...And thence to Rancho de Randerson- Everything is now going smoothly. We are dressed like people going to a wedding, Matt's speech is in his hands ( we managed to get it faxed through from a car dealership on our way from the city) and the weather is clearing up thanks to the goat sacrifice. Lovely. Good weather means less hysterical women. A short drive from Moorooduc Estate ( the Melways nowhere near the mitts of Yours Truly) and to a house painted the colour of the wedding invites ( a fact brought to everyone's attention by the father of the groom, Dave Randerson). The guests start to arrive. The bridal party drink to relax.

Two People Exchange Rings- The current resident of Hayley's belly is Yevgeny Danger Randerson, a.k.a. Dempsey Man, and would probably have enjoyed the proceedings. Matt, the best man, was running a bit late- he had hid the rings so he wouldn't lose them and was now trying to locate them. He comes out of the house triumphantly. He hands the rings to the marriage celebrant who fumbles them and has to pick it up. Clark fudges the lines a bit and also fumbles the rings. There is a screaming kid ('I WAAAAANt my Mummeee!') that sorely deserved some chloroform. But ring get exchanged, vows vowed. Ladies and Gentlemen let us present Mr. and Mrs. Danger Randerson.

Speeches- (In order)
Nori- the M.C. of the day. A Scottish guy who gets everyone on side by making fun of English people. He recounts stories of young Hayley growing up and a story of Clark getting lost down a mineshaft.
Paul- Father of the Bride. A short speech about how happy and proud he is. Ends it with ' When Hayley was a baby I had to give her a dummy to take to bed. Today I find myself doing the same thing.' Matt turns to me and makes the 'Zing!' motion, which we use anytime something is meant to be a scorcher of a joke.
Dave- Father of the Groom. David absolutely nailed his speech. It was killer. Every line was gold and had everyone hooting with applause. To top it all off it was all impromptu. ' I've known Clark for about 25 years or so,' he says, turning to Clark who had just returned from urinating behind the lemon tree, 'I was there for most of it, but I'd missed his birth. After 12 hours of waiting I'd gone home to feed the dog and out he popped. Now, to Hayley. I don't really know her that well. She just turned up one day about fourteen months ago.' Damn. I'd hate to be following that guy.
Matt- Best man. Matt has a seriously funny speech lined up and I quietly believe he is using today as a springboard for his career in comedy. He does however fudge it twice, firstly by referring to Hayley as the father of Clark's child and secondly by swearing (' I f-cking love you man!'). It's not a big deal but he mentions it a few times afterwards.
Clark & Hayley- The Newlyweds. It's pretty much Clark's show here as he spoke at length, dropping his cue cards for comic effect and staggering about. Hayley says a few brief words at the end before Clark remembers a few more announcements and grabs back the mic. He said some of the sweetest things however and I think the loveliest went along the lines of ' I love you and I know that everyday I wake up next to you everything is going to be just fine.' Or words to that effect. They then dance the wedding waltz- My Funny Valentine. Someone told me they would dance to Stand By Me, which always reminds me of four kids trying to find a corpse down a train track.

And the Rest of the Night- Some folks return to Melbourne but the rest spend the night a-drinkin' and a-dancin'. There is no-one to pick up. Cat was hoping to bump into Conan the Fireman who didn't turn up to the wedding. Matt and I looked around but the ladies were all already spoken for and sadly one of the cutest girls there, a total GILF, was Clark's 14-15 year old jailbait cousin which more than one guy noticed, did the maths and figured at the very least four footy seasons before they should even say hello. We decide it's time to call the cab.

Waiting is the Hardest Part- The problem with Mornington Peninsula is that there is a total of three cabs in the whole place. There are probably only five cops in the whole area too, in all likelihood part-time cabbies. We wait forty-five minutes for a bug-encrusted taxi to arrive but by the time the buses come to pick up everyone else, including the limp form of a drunk, vomiting, Scottish M.C., we decide it may be better if we drove to Moorooduc Estate instead.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i resent that. there's at least 4 cabs. and if tere's so few cops how come i get done on average once a month?

11:38 am  
Blogger Fatman said...

How the hell you get caught on a monthly basis I'll never know Anonymous. Hide the crack pipe and make sure you have your seatbelts on. On anothjer note here's is the speech Matt gave in it's entirety:

Mr & Mrs Randerson. Oscar Danger Randerson.

Firstly I'd like to say thankyou to the bride and groom for providing us all the reason for being here today, David and Deb, Paul and Jenny, and of course the lovely bridesmaid Megan.

I'll be bucking tradition a little today by toasting twice if you wouldn't mind, I'd like you all please to charge your glasses and toast with me to our gorgeous bridesmaid Megan, your arrival yesterday provided a hugely appreciated breath of fresh air for Hayley, and an even greater level of appreciation for a 6 pack of beer and a pair of socks for Clark and I. To Megan:

Earlier this year Clark came in and stood at the bar a couple of hours before closing time on a Saturday night. He came in, and he stood. And he stood. And he fidgeted. And he stood. And he shifted from foot to foot between standing and fidgeting. After much standing, fidgeting, scratching, staring, and shifting the bar finally emptied. At this point Clark puts out his cigarette, looks up and down the bar, looks over his shoulder, looks at the floor, looks over my shoulder, looks at his beer, takes a deep breath, and whilst staring at his beer says to me, "I'm pregnant."

My immediate reaction was to be stunned. I don't remember ever pretending to be a doctor, and I've always felt that I had a pretty good handle on anatomy and the reproduction process, hence, I was a little skeptical of Clark's pregnancy claim. Realisation kicked in, probably at the same time for both of us. Thus began the epic journey which passes one of it's most significant milestones today.

Whilst I mention milestones,

Many many moons ago, in a land before time, or at least if not before time, a fair while ago, Clark and I were playing truant in some alleyway or another discussing the relative merits of our potential life choices – as I'm sure all teenagers do. Clark said to me, with the utmost conviction, that he would be a father in his mid twenties. He reasoned that he would glean a greater enjoyment from the experience, and also be able to provide more opportunity and enjoyment to his future progeny. At the time I felt that his reasoning seemed logical – unlikely, yet logical.

Ten years passed.

Not quickly mind you. There's been all sorts of exciting, significant moments in Clark's life that I've had the privilege of being involved in. There is an example that springs to mind.

This particular Adventure of Clark also occurred many many moons ago – in the previously mentioned land before time. Mr & Mrs R (senior) had, in retrospect quite fortuitously, left Clark as lord of the manor whilst they savoured the many benefits of a well earned vacation. It had been previously arranged that a friend and I would visit the temporarily appointed lord of the manor in the early afternoon for drinks and social banter and such. Upon our arrival I rang the doorbell, as was customary with doors in those days – with no result.
I rang the doorbell again.
And again, there was no response.

Patience is a virgin.

And so had Clark been up until a few moments before the doorbell had been rung.

On a more serious note,
I struggled trying to put the right speech together for today – this is such a definitive moment in so many people's lives, Clark and Hayley's obviously, David & Deborah & Paul & Jenny, and the imminent Oscar Danger. After spending weeks staring at a blank piece of paper I gave up trying to come up with something appropriately emotive or inappropriately humourous and figured that probably the best thing to do was to get up here and try and put into words how much you two mean to me, and hopefully I'd be eloquent enough to convey it.
Clark is a people person – always has been. In my experience, most people during the course of their lives somehow develop a small group of people that have a distaste for them, or, who simply do not like them. Not Clark though, I've never heard a single person say a bad word about Clark. Ever. While I wrote this speech I tried to think of another person in all of history that I could say the same for – and couldn't. None of the great thinkers, the Einsteins or Nitsches, not hugely popular religious or societal icons, the Pope, the Dalai Lama, JFK, Nick Cave, etc. could I honestly stand here and say the same for. All except for you mate.
On the topic of acceptance, I am absolutely thrilled that we are all here today, celebrating this inspiring union. Hayley, you have come into Clark's life, as a beautiful, gentle, loving, and, of course, infinitely patient soulmate. You have arrived, as Clark predicted you would whilst smoking those illicit cigarettes in that alleyway so long ago, and become the love of his life, the mother of his child, the fulfillment of his dreams. For that, I can only say, thankyou.

Popular psychology says that in order for a person to feel whole, to feel comfortable, they require stability, or at least, a reinforcing absolute, a something or someone that can always be relied on. If you could prove the epitomy of that reliable, validating, supportive something, for me, it would be Clark. No matter what, the bloke's only ever been a phone call away. Even when Clark was in Singapore and we hadn't spoken for a week or two or three, all it took to feel sane and normal again was a phone call. All of a sudden, even though everything around me looks like an office, or a lounge room, or a train carriage, I'm sitting at the bar with me mate Clark and everything's going to be ok. Clark's supported me through thick and thin, and I hope I've done the same for him, because simply put, he's more than I ever could've asked for in a mate.

Clark, Hayley, we are here today in reverence of the official ceremony of your perfect marriage, of the beautiful family you are soon to have, and the wonderful life that you will share together.

At this point in time I would like to propose a toast. So, if you would all please charge your glasses
and toast with me to:
A gorgeous bride, a champion groom, and the perfect union of Hayley and Clark Randerson


PS- Thanks Matt for giving me the speech. Thanks Clark and Hayley for getting married so I could get the weekend off.

4:30 am  

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