Writing


06.27.07 (3:13 pm)   [edit]

Sam's blog is MOVING

3 years, 201 posts and over 40,000 hits later, I am moving from tBlog.

It was fun while it lasted, but not that fun.

I am now moving to franzy-writing.blogspot.com/.

If you click on it now, my first entry is a doozy ...


5 Comments
06.26.07 (11:11 am)   [edit]

And my inner eight-year-old says:

Coooooooooooooooooool.

***

In other news, I've worked out number six for things that piss me off about people:

6. Coins on the notes.

For the record, when I worked in a professional where handing over money was necessary, I never never did this. It drives me bananas when I hold out my hand for the change and the Helpful Harry/Harriet behind the counter puts the notes on first then drops a pile of coins on top of the notes. They may as well give me the notes and toss the coins over my shoulder. How the fuck am I supposed to put that neatly back into a wallet? Especially the fuck when they put the receipt down first then notes then coins. Who in the world just bunches their hand up and stuffs it in their pocket so the notes can float away later while they're looking for the coins? And it's only the real helpful-have-a-nice-day ones who do it too, all perky and friendly and happy like they just made you your own little sand castle right there in the palm of your hand.

Whoops. Time for a coffee. I was getting a bit Finkle'n'Einhorn there. "Laces Out!! Laces Out!!" 

 


8 Comments
06.25.07 (10:39 pm)   [edit]

Just the words. And the way they were put together.

I’ve been reviewing young adult books for Viewpoint for quite a while now, but I’ve only ever posted my first review, which was my scathing piece on Randa Abdel-Fattah’s Does My Head Look Big in This? which was subsequently republished in 14th anniversary collection put out by Viewpoint this year. The super-exciting part about this review was not only that it was republished, but a well-respected academic actually cited it and me in a recent article on in an equally well-respected Australian journal. She disagreed with me. Darn it. Well, with some of what I said. Her point was that the contradictions of Muslim vs modern teenage life actually served to make a new cultural point about Muslim life in modern Australia. My point was that, new cultural identity representation or not, average writing is just that and you can’t have Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on TV before it was invented for no good reason.

Since then, I’ve had a review published in every issue of Viewpoint, sometimes even two. Getting paid to read is living the dream, but only somewhat. It doesn’t pay the rent, but it does provide occasional beer money. It’s more ‘living the spare change’.
None of the reviews I’ve written since have been so negative, except maybe one, and even that one tried to be even-handed. This one was different. I would never have finished the book if it hadn’t been for some pig-headed, honest work-ethic that forced me to read every page. Mele advised against beginning the review with “This book is the reason teenagers don’t read books”.
She was right, but I stopped asking her advice after that. Here is the review in its entirety (before Mele gets her even-handed and sensible hands on it so that Viewpoint doesn’t come off sounding too rabid).

“Jimmy kicked his right leg up and back, sending his duvet flying towards the window. It wrapped itself around his attacker.” (p10) I challenge any person lay under a duvet and then kick it, one-legged, and send it flying in such a way that it wraps itself around a person.

In this and the previous issue of Viewpoint I have reviewed three action/adventure books, all aimed mostly at teenaged boys whose taste for literature and culture in general is heading towards the sensual thrill of action and adventure. These are boys who are finally starting to become men: at last they can run faster than their dads, overpower their siblings, hit a six and eat an entire pizza in one sitting. They want the culture they consume to reflect their lives and they are spoilt for media through which it is delivered.

In my review of Charlie Higson’s Double or Die I made a list of the sensory entertainments that books for modern teenagers are often trying compete with. I also commended Higson on actually writing a book, rather than another instalment of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Halo 2!” Books don’t need to compete with movies or video games because they are different. Not better, or worse, but different. Attempting to write a book to be like a video game is like trying to cook a hamburger like a soup. Jimmy Coates: Revenge (Harper Collins, 2007, 978-0-00-723285-7, price?) is just such a hamburger soup. Joe Craig has taken the ingredients of a really cool action story and, instead of preparing them individually to their own specifications and needs (spicing the mince in a bowl, slicing fresh tomato on a board, crispy-frying bacon and leaving it in a hot pan), he has given them all the same power-blend treatment, poured them into a big pot and cranked up the heat. The result is an action novel that, for all its glamorous settings, unbelievable fight scenes and detailed, near-future geo-political wranglings, tells a story that is somehow simultaneously bland and difficult to digest. To reheat the soup metaphor a final time before pouring it down the sink: the Mixmaster missed a few chunks here and there; every fifty pages or so a sentence hinting at emotional depth of character swims to the surface, but it disturbs the flow of the narrative and, like M&Ms in a bowl of Continental Tomato, probably should have been left out.

Jimmy Coates: Revenge is the third book in the Jimmy Coates series, which seems to be about a British teenager who is genetically modified from birth to be a programmable assassin working for the British government (I will explain the ‘seems’ part of that sentence in a moment). He can run very fast, fight anything that attacks him, see in the dark and (ahem) breathe under water. Don’t bother wondering how, that was probably explained in the first two books and obviously explained well enough so that a teenager with organic night-vision whose muscles are ‘programmed’ to work out while sleeping is perfectly acceptable. The third book has been written with the very firm assumption that its readers will definitely have read and enjoyed the first two instalments. There is precious little character background or history to this New York-set chapter in Jimmy Coates’ life. This isn’t so much a complete novel as a third chapter waiting impatiently for a screenplay. Pre-existing relationships aren’t so much worked into the text as lobbed at it from a distance. Old antagonisms, complex characters and supposedly-dead siblings appear without warning or introduction, forcing the reader to do that embarrassing thing of flicking back and re-reading most of the book in search of clues as to why one character hates another and who that Irish guy is. The respect for the reader that was present in Higson’s Double or Die is absent from Jimmy Coates: Revenge. In its place is a jittery sideways pinch for those kids lining up for the latest Alex Rider movie. No, not the book; the movie.

Even the writing itself seems unauthentic, as though Craig were not only writing for a 13-year-old in danger of losing interest in books, but like one. The prose gives impression that there was many a “suddenly” and a “then he” removed in the final edit and the level of humour doesn’t stretch much beyond naming the President of the United States ‘Grogan’.

For an action novel the ambitious action scenes themselves are surprisingly clumsy. Jimmy lunges from one confusingly-choreographed fight to another leaving behind a trail of elaborate physical descriptors as complex as the commentary for a break-dance competition. Legs, arms and other objects flip, roll, thrust, crunch and bleed. Jimmy experiences temporary pain, but his genetic programming swiftly brushes aside his injuries, whether from a kick to the head or a three-storey fall, and he fights on at top speed. In a book so reliant on computer game-style thrills, this is a surprising choice of trait to bestow upon a main character. God-mode is just as boring on paper as it is on screen.

The political elements of the novel are not so much inept as ill-considered. Although it is difficult to ascertain the exact details in this third part of the series, Craig has imagined modern-day Britain with its increasingly surveyed citizens into the near future as something of a dictatorship with its borders closed to foreign people and culture. The secret service is running things from behind the scenes and France is (for some reason) trying to start a war. Jimmy and his family have escaped to the United States to hide, but there are other Teenaged Genetically Engineered Government Assassins after him both from Britain and France. These super-teenage-assassins are essentially bred to murder people in spectacular and daring ways for their government and, although Jimmy is conflicted about his actions, he does them anyway, graphically and enthusiastically. The complaint here is not the obvious one about glorification of violence, for violence in art can be extremely stimulating, but the depiction of children being made to kill for the adults who control them. Maybe this was a moral argument that was played out in the first two books, but the fact that sending a child to kill amounts to child-abuse is never mentioned. The three teenaged assassins are all given various targets and only Jimmy tries to fight his instinct to kill. The other two positively revel in their enhanced murderous abilities and are treated by the narrative as moral adults hiding inside really cool children. No one weeps for their lost innocence or calls their masters and abusers nasty names. Without wanting to try to sell too many Amnesty International t-shirts, I wonder if Joe Craig had the couple of hundred thousand child soldiers around the world in mind as a possible audience when he created his own white, British one.

Jimmy Coates: Revenge is a dull book. From the whiz-splat technology to the genetically cloned characters to the comic-relief best friend who is so funny that you want Jimmy to poke him in the eye every time he utters another ‘joke’. Almost everything seems calculated to make the reader wonder if there’s dishes to be done. Even the computer-print-out font encourages one to scan the page, searching for information.

So, if poorly-acted, by-the-numbers, B-grade action movies are your thing, then by all means, go and rent any Jackie Chan movie made in Australia. Funnier, more enjoyable, cheaper and you even get a blooper-reel at the end.


57 Comments
06.21.07 (6:08 pm)   [edit]

... if it's the last thing we eeever do

I'd like to ring in my 200th entry not with samples of favourite bloggy moments over the years, or photos of me doing stupid things, but with a plea:

Somebody save me from tBlog.

It's not too bad a site, just that, as I've been saying on comments of late: there's something very Hungarian backpackers about the whole place. It's full of opinionated American weirdos, it looks like it doesn't accept any credit card you've ever heard of, the admin guy is called 'Rocky' and there's the smell of stolen underwear about the place. It's been good to me throughout the years, but as far as connecting with other blogfolks go, I feel like I'm stick in the common room, eating salami, drinking schnapps and listening to a skinny American frat-boy trying to convince some greasy-haired mädchen with big boots that Pentecostal League gridiron is the highlight of everyone's life when I could actually be out in a bar somewhere, interacting with normal people.

So, I'm throwing down a challenge, and it's not as easy as 327 made it sound because there is a catch. Help me migrate to a decent, popular blog platform. 327 was on the right track with his two step "Open Blogger Account, Place Link on tBlog" idea, but the catch is that I want to take my archives with me. I want them to be safe. I don't want three years of links, pictures and run-on sentences (because as of Monday, my blog turned 3!) disappearing in the night when Rocky decides to harvest everybody's passports, consumer goods and underwear to start up a camping ground in Serbia. I'm not implying that he will, he's been very sedate and most-reliable these past years, but I just want to have a blog that means that I can actually register on the Adelaide Index and not have to keep typing in "other" when I leave comments.

Make this happen and receive one (1) bottle of wine.

Hey, I told you it was a dodgy hostel.

* * * * *

I've never done one of these before, but Audrey just tagged me to do a meme that, as far as I can tell, is ten petty things I hate about people. I believe the standard way to begin this meme is with the statement: I'm not really a hateful person in fact I'm quite tolerant but who wouldn't be pissed off at the things I'm just about to name?

With that out of the way, I believe I can commence slagging:

1. People who commit driving offences

Not you learner drivers who don't know any better, or you morons who run red lights and speed up and down suburban streets (although the latter are undoubtedly cockheads). It's you boofheads who pull up in the left hand lane at traffic lights to speed ahead of the pack and block the left-turners, the non-indicators of Adelaide, the tailgaters and the 55km/h drivers. Anyone who buys a 4WD without a lot of loose earth to negotiate. And most of all, those turds who pull out in front of my little Honda when there's at least 9 kilometres of open road behind me. Just coz it's small, doesn't mean I won't cause some serious damage to your trailer bar! One side motherfuckers!

2. Bad spelling

I’m getting petty and it’s only number two. Just fix up your apostrophes, please please. I’m begging you! Here’s how they work: if something belongs to something then it’s “something’s something”. Apostrophe! If there’s more than one something then it’s “somethings” No apostrophe! The only time it changes is with the word “it”. If “it” owns the thing, then there’s no apostrophe! “Its legs” No Apostrophe. There’s no confusion here because you shouldn’t have multiple “Its” running around unless you’re writing a story including character so stupid that it can’t think of a better descriptor than “it”. If you are writing one of these stories, stop. Go back and kill that character before he, she or it utters the line “The Its are everywhere!”. They were going to die anyway. It’s just simple grammar, people.

3. The wet fish.

Oh, just shake hands properly. No one’s going to think you’re gay.

4. "Yoop! Yoop!"

This may sound difficult to believe, but lots of hockey players actually use this high-pitched yelp as a way of calling for the ball. I assume it's supposed to be a little bit army-battle cry, but it makes you sound like a kicked poodle.

5. Dudes who mistreat their women.

Not exactly petty, but how hard is it not to act like a fuckhead towards someone who likes you? All you've got to do is nothing! It's like laziness is actually more difficult than getting your arse off the couch and cheating on your woman.

 

And I'm spent. I seriously cannot think of any more things that piss me off about people. Every time I think of something, I either do it too, or I sympathise with the person who does it. I might try to finish this meme over a series of post. If I think of something new, I'll come back and you guys are gonna hear about it. Sheesh, even Flanders had more to irk him shortly before his visit to New Bedlam. I just sit here grinning moronily.



10 Comments
06.19.07 (5:40 pm)   [edit]

Wave to him

This little story reminded me of an even more hilarious life-size statue in Prague.

Can you spot it?

Little help

Edit: Whups - just read Nai's comment and realised that if you've seen him close up it's a lot more hilarious than it looks at first glance. This is as good as I can get!

 


10 Comments
06.15.07 (4:27 pm)   [edit]

New Word

Metaflor - n. Flowery metaphor.

The undergraduate creative writing essay was an over-fertilised window-box: so overflowing with metaflors that Melanie pushed away her marks sheet in disgust.


58 Comments
06.15.07 (3:34 pm)   [edit]

Australia says no but I don't remember the referendum

This is a quick post inspired by Audrey's most recent post on the treatment of rich chicks having too much fun. In it she talks about the culture of slagging off the Paris Hiltons of the world for partying like the well-funded young things they are. She also (briefly) mentions that while the Bad Girlz get painted as hateful sluts who no one can decide whether to be sorry for or jealous of, the Bad Boyz of the world don't rate a mention. Observe the media coverage of Matthew Newton's trial for hitting his girlfriend, one of Oztraya's (other) favourite young actors, Brooke Satchwell. It cost him a highly-paid job and that was that. No one was outraged. Who magazine didn't give him a fluoro splash. I'd forgotten about him until Audrey brought it up.

The reason for the media (non)reaction surrounding Mattie Newton is the reason we still have domestic violence: no one speaks out about it. Even when it's painfully painfully obvious we still um and ah and jump for the only reaction we are taught as people and therefore a society to have: excuses and reasons.

"He was emotional/in a bad place/a weak-as-piss coward that week"

We react in the same way towards Matthew Newton as we would if we found out an acquaintence had punched his girlfriend. With more surprise than anger. Everyone is eager to put the bad business behind them and hope that the poor fellow can move on with his life, now that he's been punished enough. Do you feel like the middle bit has been missed out? Where was the punishment? Where were the red red headlines screaming "Mattie Hits Girls!!" The grainy photos of him breaking down at the media coverage showing him as a monster? Where was his grovelling apology and offer to work for domestic violence campaigns?

None of that. Just let him sort his life out in private and let's get back to rubbing our hands together in shadenfreude while some other naughty girl behaves naughtily and did see what she's wearing?!?


5 Comments
06.14.07 (12:50 am)   [edit]

Guests'n'Guns

I wouldn't normally allow this ... but for the first time ever, I will be posting a guest blogger on my illustrious site. Let it not be said that married life has changed me, no! For once you read this guest's entry, you will applaud my marvellous blog management skillz and shower me with the cred I surely deserve.

A Brief History of the Gun* Club

*Bicep

 

 

FOUNDING

The Gun Club was founded in 2006 by Ben Roy Watts (a recipient of the inaugural Inappropriately Anglicised Name Award) who moved from Queensland/Bronco territory to South Australia in said year. After growing a 'gut' from eating hot apple pie every night in an effort to cope with a change in climate, Watts recruited his cousin Sam Neil Franzway in an effort to get rid of the 'gut syndrome' and build up their 'guns.'

EARLY YEARS

The Gun Club's first clubroom was Lee's Taekwando Supergym, then owned by Mr Lee (cue Asian stereotype: a guy called Lee with a black belt who met Chuck Norris) and run by Mrs Lee and her son Laurence Lee. Attracted by the 'super' claim in the name, Franzway's then fiancée Melanie Jane Kinsman (runner up in the Inappropriately Anglicised Name Award) joined the club in an effort to lose her own gut for their forthcoming nuptials.
Associate members recruited at this time were Daniel Kinsman (who hardly attended due to attacks of medically diagnosed laziness-extrema and post-computer syndrome) Triton-Tunis Mitchell (who was on a wholistic health kick, which conflicted with the minimum cardio, 'guns ahoy' ethos of the club) and Trent 'Stuntpegs' Murphy, who joined in an attempt to get rid of his 'girlie man' image, but left the club when he realised that he could get more girls at the extremely feminine (read: crap version of basketball) game of netball.

DEFECTION OF LEE'S TAEKWANDO SUPERGYM

Despite it's undelivered promise of 'super', the gym was attended by Gun Club members until a coup was staged by J the knob/personal trainer. This resulted in the Lee family handing over the keys to the gym, the taking down of the Chuck Norris photo, and a price hike that had the old faithful regulars taking a walk out the doors. J the knob/personal trainer was famous not only for being a knob, but having extremely bad hair and being a sleazy perv (the only woman he did not perv on was Mrs Lee, even Mel looking sweaty and disgusting got a look in, as she wasn't fat or over sixty). J the knob/personal trainer spent a lot of time 'supervising' the fitness program of two blondettes).

ADELAIDE UNIVERSITY SPORTS HUB

A new phase in the club's history began when M Kinsman and Franzway joined the Adelaide University Sports Hub, a newly equipped gym that was cheaper and ironically better. Watts held out for a few weeks but realised price and equipment could not be matched. M Kinsman was once again the only female in the gym at first, but Watts and Franzway were ecstatic that the gym's community was largely comprised of young males conforming to the Gun Club ethos: Fuck cardio! Who cares if you've got a pot belly? At least you'll have guns to go with it! A weights room full of vain, sweaty male students staring at each other was considered not homoerotic but manly and homogenously masculine (see Franzway, Sam's Homoerotic Musings on The Fast and the Furious, 2005). Despite M Kinsman's determination not to build on her 'guns' and simply to exercise, she remains a member of the hub and the ladies rep of the club.

CURRENT MEMBERSHIP

President: Ben 'Roy' Watts (Cousin of Sam Franzway, cousin-in-law of M Kinsman, housemate of D kinsman)

Vice-President: Sam Neil Franzway (cousin of Watts, husband of M Kinsman, brother-in-law of D Kinsman)

Ladies Rep: Melanie Jane Kinsman (wife of Franzway, cousin-in-law of Watts, sister of D Kinsman)

Hon. Member: Mr Chuck Norris (lead 'actor' in a movie with Bruce Lee, but lead only cause he's white)

Recently AWOL private members:

Triton: Straight as an arrow. Just like Chuck.

Trent. Ladies Girlie-Man. He wants a hug.

Dan. EAT THE PAIN!


06.08.07 (7:28 pm)   [edit]

Back to Reality

So I'm in the library, reading away, getting angry beyond my years about undergrads who use the quiet study area to make phone calls and have loud conversations about the outrageousness of getting chucked out of a nightclub for no reason. I was thisclose to turning around and suggesting that perhaps it was BECAUSE THEY WERE TALKING TOO LOUDLY, but I couldn't quite bring myself to make too many enemies so close to the weekend. Anyway - I move to a little desk near a window and look out on the dreary day visiting Flinders Uni and what did I see?

 

This little puddle. And, although you can't quite see it clearly, there's a splodge of mud in the middle of the puddle with the most delicate little green grass shoots growing out of it.


06.05.07 (1:22 am)   [edit]

Best. Day. Ever.

Reader, we were married.

And it was more beautiful than I could possibly have imagined. No, really. I realise that being surprised at the wonder of one’s own wedding day might seem unusual, but nothing could have prepared me for the true glory of it all.

We woke up at 6:30am (yes, we spent the night together, having never been presented with any decent reason not to, despite a few familial frowns), showered and then I left for The House of T at 7am, passing the hairdresser at the front door on her way to three or four hours of solid hairdressing.

The girls’ morning was somewhat different to the boys’ morning. While the ladies primped, crimped, blowed, sprayed, painted, clipped, squeezed, threaded and perfected all the way between home and Hazelmere, the boys had a further sleep-in, watched Video Hits, ate croissants and bought a carton of beer and some sausage rolls.

It all went fairly quickly after we three fellas arrived in the MurphMobile. We ironed our shirts, donned our suits and greeted guests on the lawn in the last spectacularly sunny day of autumn. On the dot of a quarter to three, the celebrant gave the word and I took my place on the porch, under the now-bare vines, with Triton on my sword-side and all of the friends and family facing us and smiling,

Ché was given a secret nod and the music started. Mele picked Death Cab for Cutie’s I will follow you into the dark about a week before the ceremony. It’s a delicate little guitar number that, from the first few lines, appears to be about death, but actually turns out to be about love and trust.

The intro is very long.

My heart was pounding by this stage. I was giving nervous winks and grins to the crowd.

The first verse played. The chorus followed. The sun shone. I bit my lip. I gave Triton a punch on the arm

The second verse started. I’m sure my teeth were pressed together too hard. Nervous didn’t cut it.

The chorus began and She appeared.

Gods and angels only exist to explain the effect that women like Mele have on the men who are fortunate enough to see them like this. ‘Beautiful’ isn’t perfect enough and ‘perfect’ is too boring. Seeing my Mele walk from behind the bushes and across the lawns was paradise. I went weak at the knees, my vision swam and I had to clamp my hand to my face prevent myself from exploding in ecstasy. I probably spoke in tongues. All I remember is this black-haired woman floating towards me as the crowd parted. Then she hugged me and we held each other for the rest of the ceremony.

We lit comfort fires for Fred and Bruno. The ceremony was one we wrote ourselves with quotes from A. A. Milne, Graeme Greene, Iris Murdoch, Tom Shapcott and Dr Seuss. A part of Walt Whitman’s Song of the Open Road was our vow to one another:

Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopened!
Let the tools remain in the workshop! Let the money remain unearned!
Let the school stand! Mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit!
Let the lawyer plead in court, and the judge expound the law!
Canerado! I give you my hand,
I give you my love, more precious than money
I give you myself, before preaching or law.
Will you give me yourself?
Will you travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

We said that we would. And all week we have been prefacing questions to each other with that great line: “Canerado! Will you do the dishes?”

There were no ring blunders, no last-minute objections, no daring forays by secret admirers. We signed our names to a register and a certificate and Rosie and Triton watched and then signed underneath to say that they had watched. Announcements about photos were made and we were presented to one and all as husband and wife. Hugs, kisses, tears of joy and shouts of congratulations were rained upon us until the photographs began in earnest. Rosie Boehm is a died-the-wool professional artist and sheepdog and I mean that with highest possible respect. She took photos about 30 different combinations of family and friends, organising people and shifting her cheerful, chatty subjects into the desired groups raising nary sweat nor eyebrow. She had us all snapped and happy and mustered off to the open bar before the light had even begun to fade.

The food was unbelievably good for catered wedding food. In fact, it was excellent for food in general. The pasta entrée was hot and tasty (in honour of Mele’s Italian side), the Thai prawn salad was cool and delicious (in honour of my love of Thai food), the chicken was stuffed with something interesting and the beef was glazed with something hearty, turning the traditional mass-catered choice of Either-Dry-or-Bland into meals that people actually enjoyed and wanted to eat. I’m told the dessert was above and beyond, but I didn’t make it that far. I chose the chocolate fudge wedding cake for a reason and I just managed to fit it in.

Ben’s performance as Master of Ceremonies was brilliant. He even arranged a special fashion show, featuring Triton wrapped in a dressing gown to illustrate the story of Mele attending Ying Chow in her pjs and Marc squeezed into a pair of lycra tights of the kind that Cirkidz just loved to dress body-awkward teenagers in for almost every show. He read out telegrams from absent friends and relatives and he had even written a roast for every speaker. The fathers made speeches wishing us long and happy life. Dad made a devilish speech that began magisterially with “In China …” and went on to describe the way that nation’s single-child policy has resulted in numerous cases of Little Emperor Syndrome. Fortunately he pulled that one back on track and denied (almost) all evidence of this in his own son as evidenced this through my (excellent) choice of bride. At least, that’s what I believe happened – he’s an brilliant talker is my old Dad.

Mele rose and thanked all for coming and made special mentions to those wonderful girlfriends of hers who helped with everything from invitations to holding the train.

Triton had been asking me to write his speech for him since I had asked him to be my best man (sword side) eighteen months ago.
‘How’s that speech coming?’ I would say.
‘Yeah,’ he would reply, giving me a friendly poke. ‘When are you going to write it for me?’ At this point I would assure him that he was on his own and make admittedly idle and empty threats about deadlines. Needless to say, I was interested to see what he had come up with.
He recounted the story I’ve just written above and then stated that he had an email that I had written to him about Mele shortly after we announced our engagement over a full cooked breakfast in Port Douglas. An email that he planned to read in full. Which he, true to his word, then did. He followed this by thanking me for writing his speech and proposed a toast to the happy couple.
He was the best man after all.

I had been quietly poohing my pantaloons over my speech for days. I wasn’t nervous about the wedding or the weather, they were respectively good and planned for, but I had zero ideas for a touching speech. What more could I say on a day where I had promised to spend my life with someone? I pulled Ché aside and asked him what to do.
‘Toast your beautiful wife,’ was his advice. ‘Say nice things about her and have a few beers beforehand.’
I had a few beers, chewed my nails and, after Ben had finished his roastroduction, I stood up and opened my mouth to see what would happen. I think it went something like this:

A wedding is a big day. A big big day. You spend months organising it; the venue, the dress, the food, the people, the photos. It starts to take over. So you play it down. ‘It’s just a big party,’ you say to yourself. ‘You put on some nice clothes, go to a nice place, say a few words, sign a few forms and then get down and party on with all your loved ones. Easy.’ And that’s how I had been thinking about the whole thing. Yes, it’s a public declaration of love, but it’s still us, me and Mele, still the same people, the same healthy relationship that lead us here in the first place.
Only it’s not.
I only realised that on my wedding day when Mele appeared, looking so beautiful, not for what she was wearing or what her hair looked like, but because at that moment I stopped seeing her as the girl I’m with and saw as the woman I’m going to be with. My entire future in that one person. And I couldn’t be happier.

Here’s to the bride!

 

And here are some photos...