If you are getting married this year, congratulations! But I have bad news, particularly if you happen to be the groom, or are planning to make a speech. (It doesn’t always have to be the groom, of course.) The bar has been raised.
Tom Fletcher, guitarist with McFly, this week posted his wedding speech on YouTube. Yes, bit of a weird thing to do but these are the times we live in. Soon people will be posting their birthing videos to Twitter. They probably already are but I’m not doing that search.
In the speech, Fletcher diligently bigs up his best man, flatters the bridesmaids, thanks both sets of parents and gushes over his bride. It’s a little on the long side, but it’s by-the-book stuff. Except for the fact that he sings it. All 14 minutes, 40 seconds of it. To the tune of McFly’s No 1 hits, “ Obviously” and “It’s All About You”. And then he throws in a children’s choir at the end.
You’d have to have a concrete heart not to find it sweet. And although I’m not sure that any declaration of eternal love should end with a bellowed “Everybody give it up for the Sylvia Young Theatre School choir!”, if you were a rock star, why wouldn’t you showboat on your big day? The problem is, many of the 4.8 million who have watched the video online are not rock stars but that won’t stop them being inspired. Just as 2012 was the year of the showy proposal – Nick Candy’s flaming torches on the beach; that man who re-created the Bruno Mars video, and so on – 2013 will be the year of the wedding serenade. So that’s something to look forward to. As yet, Debrett’s, which tends towards the pinched, Hugh-Grant-in-Four-Weddings school of emoting – “He can also present both mothers (if applicable) with bouquets. He then says a few words about his beautiful new wife” – doesn’t offer tips on sung speeches.
Sung or not, the rules for grooms don’t change. Keep it short: everyone is starving and dying for you to hand over to the best man. This is not the time to try out edgy “new material”. Don’t spend longer talking about your love for your best man than for your bride. (I’ve heard it done.) Crying is OK, but not so much that you can’t get your words out. And, if you must do a McFly, remember, it’s not all about you.*
It has drawn lukewarm, and worse, reviews from the critics but the film version of Midnight's Children has at least one high-profile fan: Sir Salman Rushdie. The author of the original novel, who also adapted it for the big screen and leads the credits as executive producer, is quoted on the poster saying: "I am really proud of this film."
That's nice, but it's also the very least you might expect from someone who is so thoroughly invested in the film. Billboards have always been a dodgy business. Words are plucked from reviews and marooned from their context – "stunning", with "in its ineptitude" lopped off, that sort of thing. The verdicts of minor publications and, in the case of The Impossible this week, members of the public are given equal billing with the world's most-respected film critics, in the name of putting bums on seats. And now interested parties are popping up to have their say on them, too.
Next up, Daniel Craig quoted on the new 007 billboard saying: "Bond has never been better"; Helen Mirren tips herself for an Oscar in the tagline of her next movie; and Harvey Weinstein tells audiences: "This movie will change your life." They might be among the best in the business at make-believe, but even they can't think audiences will swallow that.