Speech Type: Best man
Speech Creator: Martin Wainscott
Speech Date: aug2002
[After having been introduced by the MC; the best man's speech was as follows.]
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen; and boys and girls.
With due regard for my learned colleagues who have preceded me, as we now reach the high point of today's events, we must not forget this is probably the moment John has been dreading the most!
Well it's not every day I'm asked to be a best man, but unaccustomed as I am to speaking in public I readily obliged. After all, how could I refuse my brother? Besides, I do know that when John gets the bit between his teeth there's no saying no. And, as it was my bit at the time – I felt I had to say yes! However, he did promise me that if I did a good job on the day, I'd get to be his best man again.
He didn't really say that of course. In fact we all know that marriage is “for better or for worse”, and he told me that he couldn't be marrying any one better than Sue. And after I've finished this speech Sue, you may be forgiven for thinking you couldn't be marrying anyone worse than John!
Ok, so one of the nerve-wracking parts of being a best man is the speech. Plenty of books have been written on the duties he has to do, plenty of advice is available from those who have already done the job, but no one – except the man himself – can plan and present the speech. Yet in amongst the whole host of advice there was one resounding message: “Make it no longer than it takes the groom to make love”.
So I'd like to finish now by proposing a …………………No only joking, in fact I'd passed that point a few minutes ago.
Well of course, John and I go back a long way – John actually goes back further than I do – and a short speech just would not do justice to that. But I can say that growing up with him has been a bit scary at times.
Surviving the tube-of-glue-squeezed-into-the-ears job he did on me was nothing compared to when he took me on an unscheduled outing in my pram, only to leave me in the middle of a busy road as he legged it when a truck came tearing round the corner. Of course mother saved the day in a 100-metre sprint that would have put Dwain Chambers to shame. But John's liking for scaring people witless when it comes to traffic didn't end there.
At the age of 17 he'd progressed to cars, and shortly after passing his driving test bought a second hand minivan. It wasn't long after its arrival that we took it out for a spin, and it wasn't long after that we ended up exchanging details with another driver – he took our registration number …and we got his rear lights. John had kept quiet about the van's defective brakes!
John was born in 1951, the year of the Rabbit, and claims to have been passionately paying tribute to that fact ever since. Well I do know he was famous all over Colne for his performances in the Horsfield.
The local townsfolk would pay money every weekend to watch his full-length deliveries bowl maidens over, occasionally catching them unawares with a full toss …or one of his googlies!
I am of course referring to John's other passion – that of cricket – and the Horsfield is none other than the name of Colne Cricket Club's ground, upon whose pitch John earned many a well-deserved accolade. Indeed, it often happened during the week after a match, that at least one person in Colne would come up to me and say: “You're John Wainscott's brother aren't you?” Well, after getting over the indignity of being referred to simply as “someone's brother”, my answer would invariably depend on John's performance the previous weekend, and hope that they didn't support the opposing team.
For those who have known John over the years words such as ostentatious …or bombastic may come to mind. And let's face it – mother should know more about him than anyone! But to my mind …sophisticated … intellectual … even unpretentious are the real words that John still has difficulty spelling.
But there is a quality of his we have most endured. .… sorry ….one of John's most enduring qualities…is his artful pillory of those about him. When on form, his wisecracks at the expense of others can be as withering to the subject as they are amusing to everyone else.
[Make a reference to any instances that occurred today: I won't mention the incident earlier on…..]
No less an example of this occurred during our first family holiday abroad.
It was Austria and it was August, and it was the night of the Oktober Bier fest. I've never been able to work that one out either. In his usual amiable style, John had befriended a group of German tourists whose command of the English language was fortunately just as poor as our command of German, and after quaffing a jovial quantity of Austrian bier we were all swaying – steins full of the beverage in hand – as John gave voice to the song about a certain part of Hitler's anatomy hanging in the Albert Hall.
Michael Barrymore eat your heart out!
Well that's enough to give you a flavour of John's earlier life, and I'll leave it to you to decide how much he's changed.
In the meantime let me read one or two of the greetings that have come in from those unable to be here today:
[Read any fitting cards and finish with the following makeshift ones]
Here's one addressed to Sue only;
“Sue…we could have been so good together…give me a call next time you're in the area. Robbie Williams” or is that Robin Williams?
Oh well, I see there's one just for John:
“John…shame it didn't work out between us – don't forget me just because you're married…Julian Clary”
We have also received a message from the Rio Tropical Bay hotel, Negril, Jamaica:
“Congratulations to you both on this day. We very much look forward to making your honeymoon a special and memorable one. Please do not worry if there is some delay when you arrive, as we are putting something on for you …the roof!
[Back to the speech and toasts]
Now I feel that I have been delivering this speech for as long as I did planning it, and I hope you have enjoyed listening to it as much I enjoyed writing it.
But, like all good things this speech must end, and the time has come to ask you all to be upstanding for the toasts.
On behalf of Andrea, Sue's lovely daughter and Maid of Honour, may I propose the first toast to all those acquaintances who could not be here today:
The toast is TO ABSENT FRIENDS.
On our behalf could I further prevail upon you to join in a toast to the bride and groom.
As you slide down the banister of life together,
May the splinters never point the wrong way.
The toast is TO JOHN AND SUE.