Saturday 13 December
The last wedding of the year is another success. Whatever your views on marriage – and I remain at least as uncertain as the women uncertain of me – there are few more romantic sights on earth than a bald, footerball-obsessed man in his fourth or fifth decade dribbling up the aisle to claim his bride. So it was with the Gaffer, earlier in the year, and so it is with Charlton of Chorlton today. I paint an unfair picture – both friends devise, improvise and heart-feel speeches more poignant for their lack of precedence; both lift the lid on just how much their beautiful ladies mean to them (the Gaffer – clearly drunk on the occasion – agreeing to lift the lid again every 25 years of marriage). Having prolonged the party with Bateman and Dylan at McCartney’s Thumbs last night, I am able to give Yolanda a full facial treatment on arrival – the alcohol on my breath drying her make-up instantly while simultaneously providing a complimentary shot of Dutch courage.
Barn Dance Bob mans the amplified musicbox once again, guaranteeing Jefferson Cake-initiated madness on a dancefloor over which he exerts total control. Like a despot squandering his remaining energy on the last night before revolution; like a kind of reverse-Nosferatu, Cake shows no mercy as he sinks his soft thighs into fang-sharp shoulders, holds his all-encompassing arms aloft and commands us: ‘Dance!’ The chaos is only assisted by Bob distributing inflatable violins amongst the throng – older members of both families left aghast at the sight of Dempson fiddling himself into a frenzy. Good days to me are seized, wrestled to the ground, then kicked under the fug-patterned carpet of the past. But as our shared dust settles, couples emerge: stronger, only momentarily confused, and able to give a lift home to those less decisive, or less lucky, than they.