You might not like to read this. it’s not the usual Beestonia post, but then, what is?
There has never been a theme to this, apart from the utterly literal reading of the neologism ‘blog’: that is, a web log. An online diary.
Of course, some subjects resonate, and thus dominate. Weirdly, and unintentionally, I’ve become an advocate for several causes through this site: Wilko’s workers, Royal Mail reform, Hindu Temple support and much else. It feels rather thrust upon me, but I am not complaining. I started this blog because I struggled to find much about Beeston being discussed online; and the nagging realisation there was loads to be talking about.
It’s the joint proudest thing I ever did. We’ll discuss the more recent half in a sec. But about Beestonia first.
It’s been half a decade since I started this blog, and nearly three years since I set up The Beestonian. Four years since I got involved with Oxjam. A year and a half since I wrote the screenplay for the Beestonian film (in edit! available soon! With accompanying film of the ‘making of’ which is composed solely of me looking earnest, with clipboard). Ten months since I set up the Beestonian Film Club at Cafe Roya, which has been hugely, weirdly succesful. One week since I set up the White Lion Beestonian pub quiz. I’ve had a busy time of late.
If you read this blog to keep up-to-date with Continuum Beeston or any other pointedly civic matters, then it might be best to stop reading now. Otherwise this post might bore in it’s own apparent solipsism. There is other stuff on the internet. I recommend typing ‘cat’ and ‘funny’ into Youtube’s search function. The years – the decades – will fly by.
So. I got married this weekend. For the past few years, while I’ve been busy writing about other stuff, I’ve been lucky enough to have a beautiful, caring and very lovely girlfriend, Ellie, aka Dr Turpin, aka Weasel.
I doubt I would have done most of the things listed above if it wasn’t for her. She’s indulged me when I’ve got up at daft hours to run petitions, or gone on ‘research’ pub crawls, or had fits of pure anxiety when a deadline looms and I can’t satisfactorily finish off an article. Fortifying cups of tea have been on hand, and a steady supply of Crunchies or whatever snack I’m having a faddish obsession with at the time.
She is a tough critic of my work, my first proof-reader and frank editor. As a scientist, she insists on detail, on accuracy, on rationality above emotional bluster. She also never fails to remind me of Hemingway’s motto: ‘Write drunk, edit sober’. You have spared many booze-fuelled late night rants with the application of this.
We chose a simple wedding, both not convinced by the growing conspicuous consumption that is usually seen as standard (the average wedding is around £20,000). So a Friday at Nottingham Council House, then a reception and barbecue at The White Lion.
Despite the modest budget and looseness of the whole thing, I felt lavished. The sweeping marble staircases of the Council House provided a great photo op that made it look like we’d booked a stately home, and their is something thrilling about stepping out into the sun onto slab square with a cheering crowd thronging.
Lavished in another sense. The day was perfect in it’s simplicity, and that allowed something else to really shine. Not a religious thing, not a lost-in-a-fairytale thing, but the feeling that this was a community. Keeping the party local, we were treated wonderful by the managers of The White Lion, Sergio and Natalie. The band, Crazy Heart, are friends who always storm Oxjam, and really gave their best (even rehearsing and performing ‘My Lovely Horse’ from Father Ted as a surprise for equine /comedy priest fan Ellie.
Our cake, or more accurately, cakes, were given to us as a gift from champion cakemaker Karen Attwood, who runs Classy Cupcakes, as well as the Civic Society Magazine. Our photographers were our friends Christopher and Gail Frost, a wonderful and talented couple who also gave their services as a gift to us.
There were other gestures that made me swell with pride: Steve Plowright, local busker and poet (you might have seen him with his accordion round town), who I’ve known less than a year, constructed us an incredible woven corn heart, as well as writing a beautifully illustrated poem.
There are two many people and acts of wonderfulness to put down here: but I will ensure I personally thank everyone when I see them. I will be buying many people many pints, and happily so.
I wrote an article for The Nottingham Post a few weeks back, explaining why I was getting married. My reasons were that it’s irrational, romantic, and a wonderful emotional indulgence: just as love is. There was something more though. Surrounded by my friends, many who I have only met through this blog or other projects, I realised that we are only whole through others. The much mooted concept of atomised individualism, that selfish concept Thatcherites saw as the ideal citizen, it’s tosh, bunk, piffle.
We are better together. Whether that be through the exchanging of rings and kisses at the ceremony with my new wife, or as a community pulling together, life is enriched by others. John Paul Satre, hell might be other people in your eyes. But you didn’t live round here, did you?
Thank you so much, Beestonians native and honoury. I just went and had the best day of my life.