Blog: Craig and Gemma's Wedding
I had to tear myself away though to head NORTH, where I was due to play at Craig and Gemma's wedding. They'd asked me to play in MAY 2008, so it felt a bit odd to finally actually GETTING to a day which had seemed a DISTANT FUTURE for so long.
This was a bit of a THEME on the way up, and I went up on a) Virgin Trains to b) Birmingham New Street, two things which I'm sure seemed MASSIVELY futuristic and forward thinking at the time of creation but which are both, in actual fact, RUBBISH. Goodness knows I've gone on about New Street enough, but the Virgin Pendolino is the IDEAL train to use that station - cramped, terribly designed (they hid the FLUSH button BEHIND the toilet seat, so nobody flushes the toilet and EVERY five minutes the disabled alarm - which is placed where logically the flush button SHOULD go - goes off), ALREADY falling to bits (loos not working, flashy radio system not switched on, The Shop pretty much unstocked), expensive, and unreliable. MOST annoying though is probably the fact that on Sunday the train stopped for about ten minutes IN EVERY SINGLE STATION just to make sure that it would meet it's timetable punctuality targets. Thanks, Richard Branson!
The Arriva Wales multi-lingual knackered old rattler that I got to Telford thus seemed CHARMING in comparison, and when I got off to see my HOTEL was no more than two minutes walk from the station I was fully re-CHEERED. "Have you ever stayed in a Premier Inn before?" asked the lady, and I don't think I have - though it was basically a Travelodge by any other name, and thus perfectly FINE. I had a big BATH, watched some telly, drank some coffee, and was soon in a TAXI and off to ENGINUITY, where the wedding was being held.
I STROLLED into the reception, about to HALLOO loudly... and discovered 50 people in SILENCE, poised to hear the start of the BEST MAN'S SPEECH. I BACKTRACKED rapidly, and I don't think anybody spotted me, and decided that MAYBE this might be a little bit more important than me doing a soundcheck! I walked into the nearby village where a very nice man, tinkering with his car in his drive, directed me to THE PUB. It took me quite a while to get there, as Coalbrookdale is all HILLS, which I'm never very good at, but it was WELL worth it - The Coalbrookdale Inn is a lovely LOVELY Proper Pub - loads of beers, friendly people, DOGS, and just the right side of Very Slightly Scruffy to be comfy. It was BRILLIANT.
When I emerged I found some people who looked like they'd been at a wedding, who informed me the speeches were over and then directed me to the MUCH quicker way down to Enginuity, where I saw the newly married Craig and Gemma. They seemed VERY happy to be married! I had a bit of a chat, got myself set up, then sat down for some MORE chat with their friends, who were ACE. On the way up I'd been a bit worried that I didn't really KNOW anybody, but everybody was EXTREMELY friendly, also lovely, and i had a GRATE time for the next hour or so, so much so that I was a bit late getting round to doing the actual GIG, which went like THIS:
It was FAB. Earlier in the morning I'd gone through quite a few covers, thinking that I'd probably do MOSTLY that, as most people there wouldn't know my stuff at all. However, when we'd been sat chatting it turned out there were a FEW people who did, but I also realised that they'd asked ME to come and do it presumably because they liked some of MY songs, so maybe it'd be OK to DO some of them! I'm really glad I did! I had a little crowd at the front near me who got into it (including some DANCING) and then everyone else sat a way away at the tables, far enough away for me not to be able to see them properly, so I assumed they were all GRINNING, which may lack some truth but DID make me GRIN myself!
It was all just lovely, especially doing "Back For Good" which I've not done for AGES, and when it was finished I came BACK to the microphone to introduce The First Dance. We'd been discussing how this would work beforehand, but it was a little bit of a surprise to the GROOM, who didn't think it would happen at all, but was soon FRUGGING.
And the rest of the evening was FOOD and BEER and TALKING (including another in my series of Lengthy Discussions About How The Younger Generation Are About To Get A Nasty Shock In The Recession With Men Of A Similar Age To Me Who I Met When Drunk) and then some DANCING and generally having a BRILLIANT time. I do love a good weddding!
All too soon it was time to go home, but I'd had a really REALLY good day - it's always fun to go to weddings, and even more so to PLAY at them, not just because it's always a good gig, but also because it feels like a bit of an HONOUR to be asked to play a part in The Big Day. It was GRATE!
posted 6/7/2009 by MJ Hibbett
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