Good evening ladies and gentlemen and before I begin I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to those of you I haven’t yet had the chance to meet. My name is Craige and it my very great pleasure and privilege to be Paul’s best man for today’s celebrations. Over the next few minutes I will be taking you on the rollercoaster ride that has been Pauls’ life to date; from the young boy with super hero delusions to the young man with just…delusions.
Now, Paul came from a very stable and loving home and so nobody had any reason to expect just how quickly and how drastically he was to come off the rails so early in his young life. Even now Paul’s parents are probably still asking themselves what they did wrong. Ladies and gentlemen most of you will thankfully have no idea what it is to live with a Shakin’ Stevens obsessive and for that you can count yourself very lucky indeed. Paul was so devoted to the idea that he actually was ‘Shakey’ that he only ever wore the white jeans and denim jacket, and spent every waking minute twisting himself into the ground. He was, of course, completely unaware that even then this was all very uncool but luckily, thanks to therapy and the development of what you and I will know as ‘taste’ he overcame this affliction to become a reasonably normal young man.
However, this delusional trait had started earlier in Paul’s life thanks to a fixation with Superman. Much of his very early years were spent with his pants on the outside of his trousers tracking down any international crime lords that he thought might be living in Stourbridge at the time. However, on accepting that this wasn’t going to pay the bills Paul decided to follow a much more tried and tested route to fame and fortune: music. Everyone who knows Paul, knows he loves his music and is a talented guitarist with a history in local bands. But even though he had grown older and wise enough to accept he wasn’t Superman and that Shakin’ Stevens wasn’t the final word in rock and roll, he still wasn’t that bright.
You see ladies and gentlemen there’s a golden rule in rock and roll when it comes to executing a Pete Townsend windmill whilst jumping off an amplifier at the same time – and that’s to check your headspace. No one who was there will ever forget the moment Paul’s head connected with the ceiling beam or how he crashed to the floor unconscious and ended the night in A&E. Some critics at the time suggested that Paul accidentally headbutting himself unconscious could even have been the highlight of the set.
It was devastating for Paul not to be able to make a career out of music as he was desperately looking for a job where he didn’t have to get out of bed early. Paul’s grumpiness in the morning is legendary and combined with a lot of faked illnesses to avoid school back in the day he had the perfect traits to become a fickle, workshy rock and roll star, but burning within him was a desire to succeed.
Throughout Paul’s life he has always excelled at whatever he’s put his mind to, and not just his ability to deceive his mum that he was too ill to attend school. He first got the taste for success back in his Cub days when he won every badge they could possibly give him. Then, probably born out of massive emotional insecurity, he took up Karate and achieved his first Dan Black Belt when he was just 14. Sounds great but let’s face it, if you’re the kind of kid that flings themselves into reinforced steel joists, it’s doesn’t really make a great deal of difference what colour belt you’ve got. Anyway another thing he found out that he was also really good at was borrowing his mum’s car and crashing through a hedge just a few weeks after passing his test. This doesn’t sound great but it went down a lot better than the time Paul organized his own 15th birthday party at the family home whilst his parents were away and his granddad had to break up the chaos that subsequently followed.
Eventually Paul made it into adulthood and seeing that music, cars and organizing parties were much too hazardous, decided to develop a hobby that couldn’t possibly see him get into trouble: food. Now for anyone here that has got to know Paul in the last few years and has enjoyed his fine cooking I would like to say now that I lived with him 12 years ago and his idea of luxury food then was a Walls Vienetta. But times have changed the man; he has developed his taste buds, learned how to cook and become one of the finest food snobs Stourbridge has ever seen. There’s nothing better Paul likes to do now than invite his good friends Kate and Andy over for some home cooked haute cuisine, fine wines and talk about digital media. I can’t help thinking at this point that the younger Shakin’ Stevens Superman obsessive guitar playing karate kid, sounds like a lot more fun. Actually he was.
However, there is one very important person who would disagree with me and that’s his lovely wife, Hannah. Hannah can I just say that you look absolutely amazing today! Now, despite Paul being a social media expert and living in a completely digital world, he went down a very traditional route when it came to finding a girlfriend. He got very drunk in a pub. It worked. There in The Old Crispin he met a beautiful young woman called Hannah who could somehow see through his frailties and delusions and so we find ourselves here today.
Hannah, we can all see how happy you make Paul. Not only can he now cook but he also clearly has someone in his life to finally replace the void left by Shakey and Kurt Cobain. Seriously, I think you two are great together and anybody who knows you will agree you’re about as close to soul mates as it’s possible to get.
Paul, you have been a great friend over the years and somebody that I have always been able to trust and whose opinion I genuinely value. Thanks for being somebody to talk to when I’ve needed it but more importantly thanks for all the daft times at the pub and the fun that you bring to those that are lucky enough to know you. I hope that those times we have together will continue for many years to come.
All it remains for me to say is that I hope you have a great day today and I wish you all the happiness and luck in the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, the bride and groom!
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