Gentlemen, The Queen!
I’ve just got back from The Mayor of Presteigne’s Annual Fund Raising Sunday Lunch, where I had been asked to give a short after-dinner speech. I like doing this kind of thing, and I’m starting to relax into it.
I wasn’t always an accomplished speech maker. For example, way back in the day, I was contracted to be best man at a pal’s wedding. I knew that you were allowed to make few off colour remarks during a best man’s speech; that it was, in fact, expected. This pal and I had shared a house, (with old Perry Venus, amongst others), and, although I am keen that this blog doesn’t concentrate too much on masturbation and its aftermath, I told a story about the grooms wanking habits. He felt that relaxing the gentleman’s way in bed was unhygenic, so he used to do it over the bathroom sink. Which would have been fine, if only he’d gone to the trouble of cleaning the sink afterwards. I thought this was just the kind of anecdote that would go down a treat at a wedding, but I was wrong. In fact, I made the groom’s mother cry.
My favourite speaking engagement so far took place around this time last year, when I was hired to be the after dinner speaker at The Friends of Lichfield Cathedral annual fundraising bash. They always put the speaker at these kind of do’s on the top table, so there I was trying to make conversation throughout the meal with the Lord Bishop of Lichfield and his good lady, the Dean of Lichfield and his wife, and a Lady somebody-or-other, who owned Uttoxeter racecourse. This last fact gave me my intro, and I got up and told the story about how my eldest daughter Charley got her middle name from Wetherby races. I worked in a bookmaker’s shop at the time that Rowan was expecting Charley, and she phoned the shop to say that her waters had broken just as the three o’clock race at Wetherby was called under starters orders; hence Wetherby. I told the audience in Lichfield that night that if Rowan had called 15 minutes earlier, or 15 minutes later, Charley’s middle name would have been either Manchester White City, or Uttoxeter. The audience liked this story, and they laughed. One elderly gentleman at the next table laughed so hard, in fact, that he had a stroke at this point, and collapsed onto the floor.
Since I had a mike, I was able to ask if there was a doctor in the house, which I’d always wanted to do. Then I alerted the staff, after which there seemed nothing else to do but to sit back down, and talk to the Dean’s wife, while the numerous doctors in the place fussed over the elderly gentleman, and the staff called the ambulance. Now, the Dean’s wife was (and is) a very funny and naughty woman, and she kept making off colour jokes in my ear, very quietly. The worst moment was when the para-medics arrived to take the old gentleman away. The Dean’s wife leaned towards me, and whispered, ‘This reminds me; I could have been at home watching Casualty instead of having to be here.’ And I went, PAAA HAAA HAAA, very loudly; and everyone stopped what they were doing, and stared at me, and thought ‘what a foul man’, while the Dean’s wife sat there, all demure and butter woudn’t melt in her potty mouth. And after the ambulance staff had taken the old gentleman, I had to pick up my speech from where I’d left off. To say that I’d lost the crowd is something of an understatement.
Now, you may be thinking, yes, all well and good, but isn’t Sunday night music night on Radio Free Radnorshire? Well, yes it is, so here’s a few bits.
I’ve been listening all week to Oranges and Apples, the excellent new (ish) Trashcan Sinatras single. It’s a tribute to Syd Barrett, and it got me thinking about songs about the music biz.
Here’s a few excellent examples; Mott’s last single, a mad tribute to their own career… it’s all a game, a grown-up game.
And then of course there’s The Raspberries failing to have a hit record in stunning style.
And the B Side of Nick Lowe’s first single for Stiff, who were once my beloved label too.
After the Loyal Toast you may smoke.