With thanks to Susie
Pippa Dean is off to gig at her first wedding of the season! Confetti, champagne
and Pachelbel, here we come...
24 minutes ago
Wedding Season! Strangely comforting to be hopping on the train, sandwich in hand,
just in time to be swept off to some nice country pile in the Home Counties. England
always looks so amazingly green and lush and... English when the sun shines on a
Saturday in June. Oh, I forgot how nice it is to take part in someone's special day.
I mean, sometimes as a musician you feel like you are a bit pointless really, but
playing at someone's wedding: well, you are adding a little touch of something magical
to their lives... aren't you? It's where playing music actually counts. Setting the
scene for those moments that they're going to remember for the rest of their lives,
watching them say those heartfelt vows through a few tears, filling the air with
beautiful sounds, giving it your best to make sure that they have just the loveliest
day... Then you get all warm and fuzzy listening to the reading from a friend who's
choking up, they're so happy for the couple. Yes, it is nice to feel that you're
doing something worthwhile - something that matters to people.
Ok: according to the message from the agent it’s all really hyper-organised today
and we've got to play Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, then Pachelbel for the signing,
and Eine Kleine for the exit, so should be fine. I hope I remembered a music stand...
* * *
Oh my God: I’ve met Bridezilla. Forget meringues – she’d clearly eaten all of them.
She was a misshapen Rottweiler swathed in enough parachute silk to keep the Paras
well supplied for any number of small wars. The way she was crammed into that dress...!
Well, the way most of her was crammed into the dress - to be truthful there was a
bit of overspill... It’s quite beyond me how she managed to fit so much champagne
into an already overstrained area. She rolled down the aisle towards her pasty fiancé
with the all menace and inevitability of a chieftan tank securing enemy territory,
if not the grace. And that was the sweetest she looked all day. I mean, we’re happy
to work hard, but it's one thing to expect you to play for three hours straight,
another to restrict one's fluid intake to a glass of slightly warm tap water when
it's 40 degrees in the shade. And that's before she raised the temperature by breathing
fire on anyone that dared to cross her. And if you want numbers to be segued together
that smoothly, surely you should book yourself an MP3 player instead of some human
beings? - I’m pretty sure toilet breaks shouldn’t be a sackable offence in the twenty-first
century. She threw a particularly spectacular wobbly when the confetti didn’t happen
at just the right minute. According to “Operation Wedlock” it was timed for 14.37
as they walked down the steps but an overenthusiastic small child and unrestrained
relative went off half-cocked at 14.32. Then she made us play for those last 20 minutes,
entirely inaudibly, outside the marquee. There was no space inside, no-one but the
pigeons to hear us, but she wanted to be sure to get her money’s worth. Why is it
that the more wealth they’re flashing, the less generous they are?
* * *
Pippa Dean has noted that the number of matching waistcoats and napkins at a wedding
is inversely proportional to the appearance of genuine smiles. Why would you marry
someone when you can’t even pretend to LIKE them??
7 minutes ago
* * *
Pippa Dean’s wedding gig today is in Essex – affording the valuable opportunity to
play that classic old party game: Spot the Most Orange Woman. Any bets for how much
paler I am than most of the guests when measured against the Ronseal Varnish chart?
4 minutes ago
* * *
Urggh. The weather is NOT good today. Not sure about this playing-outside business,
dodging raindrops, getting battered by the wind. Don’t want a rerun of Maggie’s extreme-quartet-playing
experience because that music stand did a surprising amount of damage when the mini-tornado
smacked it into her viola. So: dress, jacket, shoes, makeup, suitcase with pads,
special musical choices, music stand, wallet, book, keys, sandwich, bottle of water...
what have I forgotten? Cello! Oh yes. Run, run, run, run, otherwise train might just...
leave without you. Arse.
Ahhh, Pachelbel again - always a good opportunity to have a look around at the day's
outfits. I suppose that qualifies as a dress. Just. The reading: “On your wedding
day... Today is a day you will always remember... The greatest in anyone’s life...
You’ll start off the day just two people in love, And end it as Husband and Wife...”
Shame he is obviously wetting himself with nerves. Can’t quite hear it all... He
looks awfully flushed, poor boy. And his hands are actually shaking. Or maybe he
had too good a night out yesterday...
“It’s a brand new beginning to the start of a journey
With moments to cherish and treasure
And although there’ll be times when you both disagree
These will surely be outweighed by pleasure...”
Oh dear, even I’m starting to feel a bit queasy listening to that. Do you know, he
really doesn’t look the right sort of colour. Or maybe it’s just the clash of the
cravat against his hair... Hope he can keep going. He seems to be swaying a bit...
That’s right, lean on the Registrar’s table... but maybe not so much on the bouquet...
“...You’ll have heard many words of advice in the past,
When the secrets of marriage were spoken,
But you know that the answers lie hidden inside,
Where the bond of true love lies unbroken...”
Isn’t he pausing a bit too much, even for dramatic effect? The bride is starting
to shuffle and make little coughing noises. Well, I suppose the cheese to emotion
ratio is running high. It’s enough to make anyone feel nauseous.
“...So live happy forever as lovers and friends,
It’s the daaaaawn...........
Oh my goodness! He's surely not going to...
...of a new life for you,
As you stand there together with love in your eyes,
From the moment you whisper ‘I do’...”
Come on mate, you can do it...
“...And with luck, all your hopes, and your dreams can be real,
May success find its way to your hearts,
Tomorrow can bring you the greatest of joys,
But today is the day it all starts!”
Well-earned (and relieved) applause and some not-so-polite sniggering from the back
* * *
Pippa Dean is grumpy that she has forgotten her sandwiches.
13 minutes ago
Today, like me - my rumbling stomach is awfully loud- the bride has clearly not eaten
for some time, and is wearing a floaty white number which shows how on-trend she
is - whilst also allowing us to count her ribs. Her cheekbones could have cut the
ice-sculptures decorating the tables for the Wedding Breakfast and she is gorgeously,
freakily immaculate. Her intended looks like he isn’t sure this was a good idea.
If my mother-in-law was as alarming as that I’d agree. She seems to have a large
insect perched on her head and to be sucking a lemon through pursed lips. Maybe she
is secretly one of those aliens like in Doctor Who... Meanwhile I am kept awake by
an annoying brat who keeps yelping like a dog and poking me in the back with his
Oh dear... On Your Wedding Day... Pachelbel... zzzzzzz...
* * *
Pippa Dean needs a string quartet arrangement of Mission Impossible for tomorrow
morning (that’s eight hours’ time, boys and girls). Can she do it in time? HELP!!
11 minutes ago
Somehow you just know that it’s going to be weird when they choose ‘interesting’
repertoire. I know we complain about Pachelbel, but there is something to be said
for knowing what is coming next... I guess. I was up till 2 a.m. trying to print
out the parts for that last-minute request. Over-helpful bloody agents... It’s quite
nice sitting here though: altogether a better class of field - a meadow even - and
there must be a variety of grasses judging by Maggie’s epic hayfever. I like these
rustic-style weddings. Kind of pastoral - makes a change from posh house chic. I
must say it also makes a change to see such a relaxed and happy (well hippy) looking
lot of guests. Not a matching waistcoat in sight! They’ve been very friendly so far.
That man with the interesting facial hair said we were breathtaking. It is possible
that he was looking at Jenny’s chest at the time, but still, nice to be appreciated.
That’s the signal to say she’s coming. Quick glance... Oh my! Oh my, oh my, oh my...
What is she...? Maggie is crying with laughter now through the hayfever... Hold it
together girls! She is actually wearing a BIKINI. A white one (obviously) with shiny,
spangly, dangly bits. And she is a generously-proportioned woman too... A very brave,
generously-proportioned woman. Brave, brave... and lucky those tattoos are placed
where they are. She’s teaming it with... matching wellies?? Oh I see. The wellies
kind of make sense if you’re going to have a welly-wanging contest during the signing
of the register...
* * *
Pippa Dean is off to (yet) another wedding in Surrey.
1 hour ago
Please stand for the entrance of the bride... Pachelbel... How original... Do you?
I do. Do you? I do too. Rings. Am-dram audition: On Your Wedding Day... Sign this...
Photos... Don’t they look lovely?... Man and wife... So inventive... Eine bloody
Kleine... ...la la la la... What shall I have for my tea? There’s a bit of leftover
pizza in the fridge, or a can of beans I think... Maybe I’ll get home in time to
see the results of England’s Got Talent Factor... Is the summer ever going to end?
* * *
Pippa Dean is hoping, hoping, hoping that she won’t have to play Eine Kleine again
17 minutes ago
Well, I must say it’s nice to do a wedding gig in town for once, and this venue is
really impressive. Wow - the flowers smell divine. They make Elton John’s look positively
understated - must have cost an absolute fortune. The groom is ever so sweet, and
very excited about having real musicians. He said that he and his wife-to-be adore
music, so it was the most important part of the ceremony and they’d spent ages choosing
it. It’s such a rare pleasure when the couple are properly in love, and especially
nice when it is clearly not their first marriage. You can see why they'd want everything
to be just right. They are so happy! Everything is perfect; (that's the benefit of
experience I guess) it looks like a shot from a wedding magazine. But in a good way.
It’s cool that I’m playing for a new quartet today. Haven’t met any of the other
girls before and it turns out that we’re all deps. In fact, one girl only got the
call for the gig this morning. Golly, these guests are clearly every bit as wealthy
as the bride and groom. Positively dripping in money. You could live off a fistful
of the jewellery for the rest of your days. Hope we look glamorous enough given that
we’re sitting right at the front , in pride of place...
Now I know what terror is. It was like one of those awful nightmares where you can’t
wake up... A room full of rich, intelligent, well-educated, probably Wigmore-Hall-going
guests giving us their undivided attention; staring at us as we attempt to play an
impossible and inexplicable arrangement of a well-known piece. Catastrophic intonation
and mis-sightreading of complicated rhythms leads to an unconventional take on the
work. It is a moot point which sound was worse: Our increasingly desperate playing
or the stunned silence that followed. Tumbleweed blows down the aisle. Most Important
Day Of Their Lives and we have scattered their dreams like ashes across the room...
Pippa Dean is going to be more careful what she wishes for in future.
2 minutes ago
* * *
Pippa Dean is playing at the Travelodge Watford Gap today. All those years of practice
and finally I reach my artistic peak.
34 minutes ago
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, they manage to plumb the depths one more
time. Today’s groom (Darren) was very happy to see us when we arrived. So happy that
within ten minutes he had slapped Maggie on the bum and tucked his phone number -
scribbled on a handy scrap of wedding menu - into her cleavage, leering beerily at
us all. Chrissy reckoned he might have had eight or ten pints before the ceremony.
(Chrissy is something of an expert in the field having dated a number of brass players
so this can probably be considered a reliable estimate.) The usual polite ho-ho-ing
when the registrar asks if anyone knows of a legal impediment was, today, more of
a football terrace-inspired selection of bellows and every time Darren spoke the
male chorus cheered and jeered him on. He exchanged more grins and meaningful glances
with his team of Neanderthals-in-suits than his beloved. The poor bride looked so
mortified and miserable, but she still said “I do.” Romance - don’t you just love
* * *
Pippa Dean is looking forward to the end of the season and the abolition of wedding
43 minutes ago
Gravel drive. Pachelbel. Simpering guests. On Your Wedding Day... Nooooooooo... segue
to dream sequence: the sound of massed string tremolandi hangs heavy in the tension-laden
air. Suddenly a rampaging mob of motorbike-riding, militant quartet players swings
into view, scattering doves, glasses of champagne, waiters and flower-arrangements
to the winds. With one slick movement, the instrument cases open, the barrels are
pointed... and the wavering-voiced reader in the dodgy fascinator, the bride crushed
into an ill-advised corset, the paunchy groom, the pageboy with demonic glow in his
eyes, the 'funny' registrar with halitosis, all are cut down with one sweep of the
machine guns. Grimacing superviolist in black wipes single bead of sweat from brow
as the quartet leap to freedom through plate-glass window in generic stately home...