Cooper Brown: He's Out There

'Ben suggests that I ask for cold, hard cash. Why shouldn't we make some moolah out of the wedding list?'
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The Independent Online

So we're starting to do the exciting things to do with the wedding – the wedding list. This is a fabulous opportunity to play your friends off against each other to force them to be more generous than each other. Victoria had this really dumb idea of asking them all to give to a chosen charity, but I soon stuck a spear in that balloon. The first thing to go in a credit crunch is charity donations – not my fucking wedding list.

I'd heard about a friend of Ben's who had got his whole wedding list in alcohol. Everybody got him cases of fine wine and his cellar was totally stocked. Sadly, this guy is now about to lose his job and is headed for The Priory, so Victoria said no to that little idea. She then started listing all this dumb shit she wanted, like sheets and cutlery and toasters. It's like we're the poor relations and everybody's got to help by furnishing our pad. Fuck that.

I go out for afternoon/all-night drinks with Ben. He's in a great mood as half his company and most of his in-house competitors have been axed and he's still totally fine.

We hit the town like there's norecession and Gordon Brown is a great Prime Minister. It's totally cool, we get in everywhere no problem and every owner is thrilled to see us – the last drinkers in the last-chance saloon. London is seriously dead. We have a great time and Ben tells me about how he locked this trader girl from France in the ladies' washroom at work over a whole weekend and she had no idea it was him. He went blue in the face laughing so much and, for a second, I actually thought he might have a stroke, but he recovered and downed his double cognac with a flourish. Ben hates the French but wants to bang their chicks. A typical Ben conundrum.

So I'm telling him about the wedding list and he comes up with a great idea. He suggests that I decide on something I want and then just ask for cold, hard cash from everybody. This way nobody can hide. It'll be very clear who gave exactly what and, Ben suggests, I then publish the top 10 donations list and – this is the killer – the 10 lowest. You don't tell anybody what anybody is giving. This way everybody is terrified of being tight.

It's total genius and SO Ben. He reckons, if I'm lucky I could make around 300 grand, tax-free! Such a result. I ring Victoria and tell her what we are doing. She says it's really not classy and we have a huge row. I tell her that if her parents gave us a shitload of cash then we wouldn't do this, but they've only given us a cottage on the estate so why shouldn't we make some moolah out of the wedding?

Victoria gets totally on her high horse and starts going on about how embarrassing it would be for herfamily. Personally, I don't give a shit, but in the end we agree to have two lists. She can give everyone her shopping list of household goods from Peter Jones in Sloane Square (like I want anything from that place) and I am going to have my own one.

So I need to choose what luxury item all my friends are going to buy me. I don't need a car – nothing is going to beat the Quattroporte. I don't really need a house, and am not going to buy at peak time when everything is about to tumble and I can snap up stuff from bankrupt City types very soon. There's only one man to ask – my friend Hugh Grant. I ring him and he's in a terrible mood because someone has just scrawled "Huh Grant is a wanka" [sic] on one of his garage doors. I laugh like a drain, but he's really upset. I tell him it sounds like Liz Hurley's spelling, but he doesn't laugh. They are very thin-skinned, these thespians. I wonder whether it might be the lesbian sticker lady and she has now moved into graffiti? Anyway, we move on and I tell Hugh my problem. He calls me a "classless little oik" but I can tell he quite admires my balls. He suggests I put the money towards an art investment – he's just made a fortune on an Andy Warhol, but that's in a totally different league. "Buy a Banksy or something," he says. Banksy is some graffiti guy who is now worth millions. I suddenly have a brainwave.

"Can I buy your garage door?"

He is totally nonplussed, but I offer him 10 per cent of the total money I receive from the wedding list. This is genius. I take photos of the door, tell everyone it's a Banksy, they all pour in the money, of which I keep 90 per cent for spending. Hugh gets 10 per cent, which pays for the gas for his Bentley. I get a garage door saying "Huh Grant is a wanka" that I will try and pass off as art and sell on. How hard can it be? Whatever, it will be excellent fun. Who knows, I might even win the Turner Prize. Stranger things have happened. It is, after all, "street art" by an anonymous artist and is a movingreflection of the UK's uneducated obsession with celebrity. I should open a gallery – Brown Cube. I can see it now. Andy Warhol, eat my shorts.

Cooper Out.

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