I got into Bradford early on Friday afternoon and met Dad outside the Interchange. Becky and everyone else had decided to drive down on Saturday morning, but I'd been missing a key bit of information in that the ceremony wasn't on 'til four in the afternoon. Dad offered me something to eat before realising there was nothing much in veggiewise, so I went across the road to Asda (we don't have one in Scarborough so this always feels like a weird kinda throwback) and got pizza, salad and Quorn savoury eggs. Dad had half my pizza, in the end.
Susan came home and Dad went out collecting, she put soaps on and I fell asleep on the sofa. We chatted a little more than usual, but not loads. I think it's strange that I don't really know a whole lot about someone that is now married to my father, particularly if you consider that they've been together a good few years already. I don't know exactly how long, but they were already pretty comfortable by the time we all went to Tenerife in 2004.
I lay Dale-like (like, head cocked and everything) in front of the TV after they went to bed and watched a documentary on Roxy Music that proved fairly boring. I also wrote something on my laptop that I totally meant to post here, but that I forgot about until now. But my laptop's back at work. It is gigantic and that sorta defeats the purpose of having a laptop. I want Becky's, it is adorable.
Saturday morning was just more waiting around, really. I thought more people would drop by their place first, but most of our side of the family had rooms at the hotel. I met Chris, Susan's son/Morgan's dad. He really reminds me of the Brummie in that episode of Red Dwarf where they die and wake up and realise it was all a VR game. Morgan was restless and difficult, even after I ran round the block with her, without my shoes.
Becky arrived with the cake and half a block of caterer's cheese. Susan had her hair done, paid and thanked the hairdresser and then burst into tears as soon as she left, because she'd done it too tight. Becky tried to fix her for about half an hour in between mouthfuls (mouths full?) of pizza but ultimately Dad had to drive her out to another hairdresser for an emergency appointment. Hair A&E, I did not think you were a plausible concept at all.
Becky and I got into her car ("mind the Vaseline on the dashboard, won't you?") and took the cake to the venue. Becky walked ahead, uncertainly, as we entered the reception area.
"We're here for John and Susan's wedding, and we've got the cake."
"Erm, where should we put it."
"Well, it certainly can't go in the function room, because there's a civil ceremony in there, obviously."
"Right... Er, so... What should we do with it."
She has to make a call and it's honestly as though this never happened before. But somehow we're the arseholes of this yarn. Eventually a caterer takes the cake off our hands, then Becky tells her that they're running late due to the hair drama.
"So they'll be arriving together?"
I say, "Yeah..."
"Ohhhhhhh. That's strange isn't it?" She looks at me like, judge too! How queer, how doomed is this joke of a marriage, etc. Never mind that it's my dad, why the fuck do you care?
"Um... Is it?"
"Well yes, it's traditional that the bride arrives later."
Of course I know this, but I had a little attitude because she'd already pissed me off, and really, what business is this of yours? Whatever. Becky and I sat down in the foyer chairs and waited, nervous and pissed off.
I'm gonna End-Of-Part-One that and get down my thoughts on last night.
I'd said last Wednesday that I'd do it and I got plenty of encouragement from Bob and Ray, then Mushy on Sunday. I figured if I said I would, I'd look like more of a cock if I bottled it. I bought guitar strings on the way home because I'd bust one practising Monday night and ate two platefuls of veggie sweet & sour, drank tea and sang a little bit so I wouldn't be going up there straight from cold.
It got to about 20:15 and I really started shitting bricks. I had to take a walk to calm down, which didn't work at all but while I was back at the flat waiting to set off I realised that sometimes it is incredibly easy to just not think about something. I don't know if it's a new skill or a new situation, but I didn't even have to preoccupy myself. I just stopped thinking about it and stopped feeling nervous.
I left about half past eight and it was still pretty quiet when I got there. Tony was just setting up and I said hi and got a drink, then introduced myself and he explained how they usually go about things. I saw John, this shit-hot guitarist who played last week and sometimes runs the show when Tony's away, and Tom who really, really looks like an amalgam of Ben and Rob's friend Stuart. He's pretty cool. I also met Captain Ants, as he is "colloquially known", just a big old guy with a beard who plays the paper & comb over Casio beats.
I played after Tom, and it was all kind of a blur. Part of me I remember as being really professional and polite and even relatively composed. Tony passed me a cable thinking I had a plug-in, but I had to ask if he could mic my guitar instead and apologised for being awkward as though there was much of a choice. I didn't want to borrow someone else's guitar in case some horrible disaster befell it.
I strummed a couple of chords so they could get the level right and I was probably a few bars in before people realised I was actually playing the song. I was scared to stop, really. There is a dramatic pause before I start singing in that song and I heard my voice back and it was shaking like mad. I think I'd shaken it off by the second verse, but I'm pretty sure I heard someone comment on it.
I made it through without making any horrible mistakes, 'though I did miss a line towards the end. I said, "Cheers! I'm going to leave it there," and then went to sit down. Then I realised Tony wasn't watching and was waiting to hear a second song, so I had to tell him. John and Tom were both really complimentary about it, and I know they were just being nice, but it was nice to hear nonetheless. And I'm not just being self-deprecating for the sake of it, I know I can do better.
Angela was there and we spoke for a little bit.
"So do you come here every week?"
"Nah, I've just been down a couple of times. I played tonight actually! First time."
"Yeah, I was crapping myself."
"It's a great sense of accomplishment when you do though, isn't it?"
I wouldn't really know what she was talking about until this morning when I could look back with a clear head. Riding into work I felt amazing. I told Owen that I'd done it and he shook my hand. Now I feel kind of like it was a dream. It's just one I can switch on by walking through doors on occasion.