In this wondrous era, where anyone who has been on telly is celebrated, it’s hard to know what to share. I quite like sharing. I mean, I put my wedding online for anyone to see, in my stand-up I try to talk about how I really feel and my tweets are basically me sharing the minutiae of my day.
The weirdest thing for me is that none of these things are thrust upon anyone. There has never been a clockwork orange style pinning open of eyes. The internet is an idea based on ‘opting in’, not ‘subjecting to’. So, if you don’t want to know what I think, click ‘unfollow’ on Twitter. If you don’t like me on TV, turn over and if you don’t give a shit what I got for my birthday, stop reading now. I’m blogging it because, sometimes, I like to read about nice things that people do for each other. I’m a sucker for surprise marriage proposals and shit like that, they make me cry. They remind me that in amongst how shitty I think most people are, I’d do better to remember that most of us aren’t. So, If you’re the sort of person that likes that too, keep reading, otherwise, thanks for popping by, but so long.
Have they gone? Good. I hate those c***s.
So, here’s a brief story by a man who can’t get over what a wonderful woman he married.
It’s my birthday. I’ve known that I would turn 33 today for the last quarter of a century and, sure enough, it’s happened with clockwork precision. What I hadn’t known was what my wife would get me as a gift.
It had three parts. The first was an envelope, in it was this:
Now, this is lovely, right? It rhymes and everything. There’s some clues there, but if you haven’t worked them out, don’t feel bad. I’m married to her and still didn’t have a clue what was about to happen. But I opened envelope 2, whereupon I was met with this glorious image:
Yes. That’s right. That’s Guy Garvey off of Elbow. Me and the wife’s band. Not that we’re in Elbow. I mean, like y’know how couple have their song, well Elbow are our band. Grace Under Pressure has been my song by that band. I get wound up sometimes, by the industry I work in. Hucksters, schysters and liars abound but the trick to being a better man must surely be the display of grace under pressure. Like I say it’s my Elbow song. Also, I believe – more than anything – in the redemptive power of love, and this is a song ends by warding off those that don’t. I love it. I sing it to my baby daughter as a lullabye; yep – even the swearing bit.
So, a photo of the writer of this magical song, holding up a sign is… well… I mean, what is it? Is it a picture that my missus has found? Or has she asked Guy to do it? Cards on the table for a mo – I know Guy. Really not very well, but we hung out once or twice when I lived in Manchester and have always found him to be a man of extraordinary warmth. Since Elbow became the awards magnet that we now know them to be, our paths have crossed a few times. Twitter has allowed Beth and I to chum up with other members of the band, chief amongst them, Mr Craig Potter. So, what I’m saying is, he might have done it just for me. Please understand, just because I know him a bit doesn’t mean I’m not totally in awe of him. I am a fan. The possibility that this was a personalised gesture put an excited warmth through me.
However, I still have no idea what the bloody present is. On the back of the photo of Guy read the instruction ‘Now open number 3’. I was lead into the front room.
There on the floor was a peculiarly shaped box. I was told to open it carefully. I did. And there it was.
Please realise, I got married in Vegas. I used to live in Brighton. I work – regularly – on Piccadilly Circus. Me and Neon are pals. And my wife, my clever, lovely wife – with additional funding from her parents, my Mum and her husband, my brother and his missus – had asked a neon artist to render Mr Garvey’s exact scrawl in pure, purpley light.
I can’t get a photo that does it justice, but here is is:
I sat, properly gobsmacked. Whether you like it or not… frankly, I don’t give a monkeys. It’s amazing, and will look bloody lovely in my front room. But more than anything, my family gave me something so utterly thoughtful that I feel totally loved by them – especially the mental one that I married, four months after our first date. I really hope something as lovely as this is waiting just around your corner too.
Coincidentally, turns out I wasn’t the only one born on March 6th.
If you wished me a happy birthday today, I really did have one. Thank you.