February 21, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 23/9/2000 - Roundhay Park, Leeds

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 1:36 pm

I have a shocking confession to make. In the weeks before Tim, our drummer, got married, I was having SECRET RENDEZVOUS with his fiancĂ©e, Emma. Without his knowledge we would secretly meet - AT MY FLAT! - and go about our COVERT business. Only AFTER they were married did we DARE reveal our secret… read on, for THE SHOCKING TRUTH!

Tim and Emma’s actual WEDDING DAY was like one of those big Rom Com movies where there’s all sorts of TRIALS and MISHAPS that make it look like the day will be DESTROYED and only TRUE LOVE (also a road trip, a number of humorous incidents, several misunderstandings and a COMEDIC CANINE) will get us all through. For one thing it was happening right in the middle of the Petrol Strike, so everyone was in a PANIC about if they’d have enough fuel to get there. Even worse, it was right at the end of the first series of Big Brother. It may seem STRANGE these days, when no right thinking person would even read the LISTINGS for such a ghastly programme which has become the preserve only of Heat readers and teenagers too dull to even be Emo, but when the FIRST series was on it was an INCREDIBLY Exciting New Thing.

Thus when we met in the pub the night before the wedding itself everyone was very PAINFULLY AWARE that the final episode of the whole series was on at 10pm. By 9.30pm everyone suddenly got VERY SLEEPY and needed to go to bed - the bride and groom had LEFT by this time, apparently to “finish getting ready”, ACTUALLY to see who came third. I RAN back to my B&B just in time to see Craig telling that little girl he was going to give her all his money. I am not afraid to admit I CRIED, and even his terrible single cannot take that precious memory away from me.

The wedding itself was a LOVELY do, with all the BLUBBING you could ask for and a TRIUMPHANT walk out of the church to the end theme from Star Wars. All around the building Aunties said “What is this charming piece of Classical Music?” whilst Men Of A Certain Age had to be RESTRAINED from doing WOOKIE impersonations.

The reception was ACE too - for the past six months Tim and Emma had been going round CLAIMING to be making a Millennium Album of all their pals, and so were taking photographs of everyone. At the time this seemed perfectly reasonable, although putting the word “Millennium” in front of ANYTHING sounded reasonable at that time - bugs, domes, FALCONS, people were MAD for it, though now we’re IN the 21st Century it doesn’t seem quite as glamorous as forecast. Anyway, it turned out they ACTUALLY had the photographs for place settings, it was all LIKE THAT - well organised and with TOUCHES.

The big moment, however, came during the speeches. After The Men had finished there was an OPTION for Emma to do one - we all waited tentatively for the SECRET SIGNAL that would say whether she was UNAFEARED enough, and when it was received I LEAPT up and ran to the back of the room, to get a GUITAR.

For LO! Emma and I’s secret meetings had been to write a SONG - nobody was even vaguely persuaded it might have been something RUDE, were they? She’d recently been to a friend’s wedding where the GROOM had stood up and sung a song instead of doing a speech, and thought she’d like to do the same thing. After a gig one night she’d told me about the PLAN and given me some words she had written about TIM, which I was to set to music.

When I’d done this I had to make a DEMO of it for her, so she could learn it. Put like that it doesn’t sound so bad, but what it MEANS is that somewhere out there is a tape of me singing about HOW MUCH I REALLY LOVE TIM AND WANT TO MARRY HIM. If you ever wonder why I am so POLITE and RESPECTFUL towards the Pattisons, that is why: BLACKMAIL.

Emma learnt the song and we decided we should have a practice together and record a version with HER singing, so we could send it to the bridesmaids who were going to do backing vocals. I had no idea what her singing voice was like, so was suitably impressed when she turned up and was GRATE. I’d got my four-track set up so we could record her and, mindful that she’d never done anything like this before, was FULL of Calming Guidance. “Just try singing into this, it is a MIC-RO-PHONE, put these HEAR-O-PADS over your ears so you can LIS-TEN, and don’t worry if it’s all too frightening and scary, we can take as long as you like.”

I even left the room so as not to put her off. When I heard she’d finished I went back in. “Yeah”, said Emma, “sounds good in the cans - let’s TRACK IT.”

THUS, come the day, we were fully prepared… although nobody else was. I strode to the front with my guitar where I stood behind Emma and the bridesmaids. People looked alarmed - especially those who’d heard me singing before - thinking it was ME who was about to launch into song, but as soon as Emma started the room was CHARMED. It was a lovely song called “Dinky Doo” about all the things she liked about Tim (including his insistence on listening to a local radio DJ whose catchphrase was “Dinky Doo”, hence the title) and my dears there was not a DRY EYE in the house. HUGE GEORDIE BLURKS, of which there were many, GREETED like BAIRNS, and the Bridesmaids Chorus got a HUGE round of applause.

Afterwards it was JUST like any other gig - lots of free food and drink, dancing, talking to GURLS - except that, for a change, it was a gig that I’D played at!

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