"Fornication," said the Director of Barcelona into the microphone. He let the word hang in the air. There were a few surprised titters and cries of "eh?" and "what?". People stared open mouthed at each other, eyebrows creased, shoulders shrugged, palms facing the ceiling.

After a dramatic pause he continued: "For an occasion such as this I’d like to thank you all for coming to celebrate the marriage of James Chillman and Jane Kirsch."

There were loud guffaws. I nearly spat out my wine. Ah, he wasn't saying "fornication". It was "for an occasion". It was a genius start to a firecracker of a best man's speech.

He continued: "A wise man once told me that the best man’s speech should last as long as the groom makes love." Then making to leave the stage: "Thank you ladies and gentleman."

For me the speeches are the best thing about a wedding. Oh the bitter disappointment the first time I went to a Spanish wedding with the bloke and during the reception told him: "I can't wait for the speeches," to which he replied: "what speeches?" I just assumed they were a worldwide thing. Very disappointing to find out otherwise.

And they're especially good when the groom being subjected to a pasting is someone close to you - and Jim certainly falls into that category. I hardly knew him in 2005 when he cane out with a group of friends to visit me in Ibiza. We both realized we would be homeless upon my return to Barcelona that September, and it would be a great idea to share a flat.

I'm so glad we did - he quickly became one of my best friends. He's a total legend and a guy I know I can count on for anything. This is the man who, when I switched cities did a round trip with me and all my stuff to Madrid in his clapped out old van (which broke down on the way) to save me the hassle of taking it on the train. That's a 1,200km trip! Seriously, how many people have friends that would do that for them?

So naturally I'm beyond thrilled to see him settling down with lovely Jane, the love of his life. But his niceness didn't save him from getting an absolute drumming from the Director in his speech.

He continued: "I think we all agree that Jane looks fantastic today; I think I can speak on behalf of all the single men in the room that it’s an extremely sad day for them, as they lose another beautiful girl to a very lucky guy. I can also speak for all the single ladies in the room when I say today is just like any other day. 

"Speaking of Jane’s beauty - she really does look top of the pops. She looks so good she could be mistaken for the blonde from Abba. At least this is the only reason I can think of why Jim has come as Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees."
There was also some lovely info about the early days of their romance:

"Jim and Jane met five years ago in a very, very romantic location – a typical Barcelona party at Kate’s flat. The theme was “underwater”. Jim was probably quite drunk and his eyes caught this beautiful, bearded pirate on the other room. Jane doing her best Jack Sparrow impression saw also an incredibly sexy, buff David Hasselhof deep in conversation with Popeye and an octopus. Now if you’ve ever seen Jim in a pair of little red shorts, you too will find it equally as difficult to understand as I do why she didn’t fancy the octopus. 

"They actually got together a year or so later and their romance seemed to blossom at an alarming rate. It was clear to everyone that they were extremely well suited. Jane brought to the relationship beauty, integrity, honesty, reliability and intelligence - while Jim brought, er …," at this point he rifled through his notes. "Ah, Jim brought his superhero costume collection and a 15 year catalogue of Viz annuals. "

Jim really is one of a kind, and the same could be said of Jane. That was certainly reflected in their nuptials. after the Director had wound up his speech with the traditional best man's wish for good luck, good health and happiness, we settled down to some after dinner games. These began with a bit of construction - top prize goes to the table who can build the tallest construction out of uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows - and a quiz where you had to guess the wedding guest from pictures of their eyes.

It was just one of several personal touches to a lovely intimate wedding, which kicked off in Old Marylebone Town Hall.
after the new Mr and Mrs Chillman had signed the register we boarded an old skooll 'hop on hoof off' Number 73 bus to sip cava and head off to the reception.

After a stop off to do some pictures at a park somewhere in Hackney, we pulled up outside the Loftborough Arms, to see tables all set out and rows and rows of glasses of cava waiting. At that point the whole bus burst into spontaneous applause.

"Is it normal to applaud a pub?" asked Kate.

"I think that's just the sort of people we are," I replied.

Each table was named after a BCN landmark. We had the gherkin. the bloke was upset Espanyol's stadium was included but not Madrid's - Santiago Bernabeu - I think he was missing the point slightly.

It was all forgotten though when he got to eat his first ever trifle. Delicious, and probably the last one I'll have in a long time.
Before long the dancing started, and after the bloke managed to send most of the older relatives home with some techno, it began to look like a typical night out in Barcelona. Except we were all dressed better.

Everyone throwing crazy shapes - Dave at one point doing his gravity defying Russian style dancing, followed up by his Michael Jackson. Shots of sambuca at the bar and a feeling on my part that I don't get to see all these wonderful people enough.

As the night went on the high heels started to collect in a pile at the side of the dancefloor and bow ties were hanging round necks or fastened round heads, Karate Kid style.

The Director and the bloke announced to me and Science Chick they would just marry each other and had no need of girlfriends. Just as well since I didn't manage to catch the bouquet.

Before we knew it time was up and we ended jumping like loons and screaming ourselves hoarse as Simon wrapped up the tunes with Pulp's Common people.

And then it was over. And as me and the bloke - the last ones to leave after packing up the DJ kit - were waiting for the taxi back to our hotel, the rain that had been threatening all weekend finally began to fall. It was perfect timing. A perfect end to a perfect day.

Congrats Jim and Jane - I love you guys and wish you many years of joy, fun and happiness together. Couldn't have happened to two nicer people.


  1. Hi mate! Genius summary of a fantastic day. It was awesome (and a little bit freaky!) having everyone in the same room together for the day. Writing this from a very odd little internet cafe in Tetouan in Morocco. I think this is where Luke Skywalker grew up.
    Massive thanks again to you and The Bloke for your efforts. It was a huge, sambuca-fulled legend of a set.
    Off to catch a bus to Fez now, and the end of the honeymoon. But the start of something great...

    Jim x

  2. I think the bloke and the director would be very happy together.

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