Speech 12

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, now before I begin I would just like to introduce myself to those of you I haven’t yet had the opportunity to meet. My name is James and it is my very great pleasure and privilege to be Ste’s best man for today’s celebrations. For anybody wondering who Ste is and what happened to Steve, they are in fact one and the same person, except one is slightly more middle class and socially acceptable, they are, however, both daft.


Now Ste selected me to be his best man based on the premise that I’d be the person most likely to be able to talk in sentences and the one least likely to divulge any of the dodgy bits. As we’ll be finding out later ladies and gentlemen this won’t be the only example of Ste’s appalling judgment. That’s right, over the next few minutes I’ll be taking you on the rollercoaster ride that’s been his life to date. From dwarf dating, to men in girls’ clothes to faking the demise of his own parents…it’s all here chapter and verse.


Right from the very first time we got to know each other 25 years ago at school in Manchester, Ste was very much paddling his own canoe. He is, and has always been, football crazy and in Manchester there are, and have always been, only two football teams to support. Not for Ste. In fact he would quite happily support two different teams in one week as long as it wasn’t United or City. This grubby adolescent lack of loyalty and commitment was happily to revisit him in his dating days in Japan.


Also when it came to clothes he was only content if he wasn’t wearing what everyone else was – don’t worry Ste you weren’t. And then with music he’d very openly declare a love for the latest boybands rather than the latest underground dance tunes. Quite why Ste has been bucking against the system his entire life is unclear but it meant that with a terrible dress sense, an appetite for bad music, and a recently developed aversion to longer working hours – there was only one thing for it: he had to become a teacher!


But Ste’s ‘journey’ to teaching superstardom hasn’t been entirely straightforward because not only does he enjoy his own particular version of reality but he’s also been blighted by the belief that the worst is going to happen. Fortunately for Ste, his concerns are well founded.


There are many examples of Ste managing to find extraordinary levels of despair from seemingly innocuous situations, like when he was a student living in France. Now, he had somehow got himself a job as a waiter at a very posh chateau, which itself was remarkable because he had only recently lost a waiting job for spilling gravy on a diner. Obviously working hard 6 days a week didn’t really do it for Ste and discovering we were having a boys holiday to Ibiza was the final straw. With absolutely no chance of time off he hatched a plan – he went to see the manager the next day looking distressed and informed him that very sadly his father had died the previous night. Without hesitation and much sympathy the manager sent him home to the UK….it gets worse…Returning fresh faced and tanned from his “bereavement” Ste was approached by the manager and presented with the proceeds of a staff whip round to cover the cost of his flights. Ste had no option but to take the money.


But his ability to find awful endings doesn’t just end fraudulently; sometimes it’s just with good old embarrassment too. Ste began his teaching career in Japan. So far so good. Now in a country where the majority of the population comprises largely of people under 5 foot 8, most can look a little on the smaller side shall we say. One night, Ste spent several hours enjoying some refreshing lagers in a darkish bar talking to a lady friend who was sitting on a stool. Quite taken with his new friend they arranged to meet on a date. So, waiting at the right place at the right time, nobody appeared. After a few minutes Ste glanced down to see somebody peering up at him and was astonished to realize that this tiny person was in fact his date. It was the first and last time Ste was to go on an evening out where he had to lift his date up and on to the bar stool but he agrees it was very much a learning experience. This, of course, is absolutely nothing compared to the discovery one time that his latest lady friend may not actually have been a lady after all.


Ste has always enjoyed a great sense of humour and it’s probably one of the reasons why he’s been so successful in his career – he loves what he does but he wants to have fun doing it too. But it’s his sense of humour that also made him such a hit with the girls back in the day – and not just pixies and ladyboys. Offering to show girls his moonwalk is the stuff of legend – forget Michael Jackson, Ste owes a great deal to Neil Armstrong as he bounced towards them in slow motion, he got more mileage out of that moonwalk than the astronaut ever did.


It’s also Ste’s sense of fun and entertainment that I think completely defines his life and what he wants from it. He loves his career and I think anyone that knows him will understand what a great job he does with the kids, especially the more tricky ones. But it’s his relentless pursuit of fun that makes him such a great guy to be around…most of the time. There have been occasions when this sense of fun has found him so refreshed at a hotel party that he momentarily forgot he had a girlfriend, tried hitting on all the ladies, ‘came to’ wandering around the basement of the hotel and promptly got dumped by text.


But that was many years ago and the guy we have here is not only a committed and successful teacher, he’s much more than that – he’s a committed and dedicated partner and dad. Ste, your lifelong love of having fun and enjoying yourself is never more apparent than when you’re with Shelly and HIS SON’S NAME HERE. I can see that you all mean the world to each other – it’s no surprise to me that a guy who has put family, friends and fun times before all else should have found himself such a great girl to share his life with.


Shelly, you look absolutely beautiful today, I think we can all agree that Ste is a lucky guy and thanks to your relationship he’s still the same old fun filled Ste but just without the unfortunate endings to his evenings.


Ste, you’ve been part of my life for such a long time now and in all those years I can honestly say there’s never been a dull moment. You’re a spirited, enthusiastic and likeable bloke who has taught me some very valuable lessons as to what really is important in life. And for that and the never ending great times we’ve had together, I count myself very lucky to have you as a good friend.


All that remains is for me to wish you a long and happy life together and all the very best for the future.


Ladies and gentlemen, the bride and groom!

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