Since I’m DJing at wedding this weekend, I thought I`d share with you a few wedding stories. Open up a window into the events I`ve had to revisit and relive as I psyche myself up. All names have been changed, or omitted, to protect both the guilty and the innocent…
One of the guys that I shared a house with at University married into a wealthy family. He`d met a beautiful, sweet natured girl, whose old man was a self-made millionaire. This chap had the bearing of someone who’d spent some time in the military – stocky, well-built, looked after himself, said what he liked, liked what he bloody well said, and was used to getting his own way. Now my mate, let`s call him Luigi, asked me to DJ at the reception.
Luigi was into music, but it was all about the pop charts – the cooler end though, stuff like Prince. He was / is a very handsome gezzer, and had done some modeling, so he was also into dance numbers – tunes that he could show off his pecs and routines to. He was particularly proud of the number that he`d do to Colonel Abrams` Trapped. He also fancied himself as a young Elvis look-a-like, but he was most definitely not a raver.
Like a fool I agreed, on the condition that the happy couple hit me with a list of songs they’d like to hear well before the event. This was the late 1990s, I’m not sure if digital was around, but it certainly hadn’t reached a vinyl addict like me. So I scoured second-hand and large chain stores tracking all this stuff down. They of course asked what equipment I needed, to which I said “Two turntables and a mixer.”
Come the big day, and the party is thrown in a huge marquee in the garden of the young lady’s family, country seat. No expense was spared on fine wine, which flowed like a red and white river, but low and behold I am greeted by just one deck. Still the show must go on, so I dutifully soldiered, spinning, stopping, then spinning, pop hit after pop hit after pop hit. Predictably I was bombarded by requests from the bride and the groom, “have you got this, have you got that”, things they forgot to list.
All of this wasn’t great, but it was sort of working – fuck me but did it feel like work – until I decided to drop Kenny Rogers` The Gambler. Now this was an in-joke, between Luigi, me and our fellow former house-mates, as it was something that we would often “perform” while drunk and / or stoned. Doing the call & response breakdown and everything. For sentimental reasons we all held the song in high regard, and personally, “You`ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them”, is a piece of wisdom that has become a credo.
The bride`s father, naturally, wasn’t in on the gag. He’s come charging over and demanded that I “Take this shit off!” He was paying so I politely complied, but I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that Luigi didn’t back me up.
Unfortunately I was now on the millionaire`s radar, and from then on he kept coming up and complaining. I mean I’m a sensitive soul, and I appreciate that weddings are stressful and giving your daughter away is a big, big, deal, but unable to shout at anybody else, I began to bear the brunt.
A colleague that I worked with, at a prestigious academic post, once said to me, as I rose, riled, during a “difference of opinion” in a research meeting, “You can take the boy out of Croydon, but you can’t take the Croydon out of the boy”, and true to my upbringing at some point I decided that enough was enough and I told the bride`s dad (!?!) to “Fuck off!” Fisticuffs ensued. Oh the shame of it. I still shake my head in disbelief 25 years later.
The footnote to this is that the guy threw me to the ground, ripping every single button from my shirt. He was about to properly lay into me, when he happened to look up, and found himself surrounded by all my university pals. He then got up, dusted himself down, and walked off. So I guess it could have been a lot, lot, worse.