Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wedfest07 - simply the Fest

Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 0
Level of conviction in own genius: 9
Hair day: alright, paid second and last visit to the too-edgy-even-for-me Kung Fu; drunk Scottish snippers and ear-shreddingly dark punk do not a happy Kerry make.

So, I'm married. Hitched. Wed. Spliced. Legally conjoined to Mr Andrew Simon Furlow Esq. of Bethnal Green, London. Feels much the same to be honest, except with big fuck-off rings.

Wedfest07 was some weekend, made possible by the extreme creative involvement of most of our friends and the extreme financial involvement of parents. What we always planned was one hell of a musical party with a small wedding attached, and that was pretty much what transpired…

Our '15 Minutes Of Fame' night on Thursday at the Dog House in Kennington was a nice pre-wedding gathering, where our pals flexed their DJing muscles over a rather feeble PA for 1/4 of an hour each. Still, we had a nice mix of dub-reggae, Canadian indie rock and 50s jazz so it kicked off the eclectic musical flava suitably.

The prospect of the main event left Andy and I sick as dogs with nerves, which didn't leave even when we arrived, in miraculous sunshine, at the yellow and corn-blue house of South Farm, greeted by glossily regal peacocks and slightly scruffier chickens. I didn't really calm down until I was straightening my hair in the bridal suite and Chief Bridesmaid (I prefer Homie) Christina was chucking some champagne down my throat. Andy slipped on his bespoke suit and Paul Smith shirt (verdict: natty and gorgeous. As long as Tim and Steve approved, it would be alright, although he did come back to complain that Rich D was looking cooler than him) and left us to it. Tried to decide if wrapping ivy round the length of one arm would make me look like I had had a fight with a copse on the way. Put Nan's own wedding ring on my necklace and strapped on my fetching sky-blue garter for some old-new-borrowed-blue action. I found Dad trembling leaflike in the wind and spraying Bach's Rescue Remedy liberally on his tongue, and once errant 2-year-old Eva had been tracked down and re-nappied (and me, for that matter, given nerves), we were off round the back of the Tudor Barn and through the kitchen, greeting everyone we passed. So far, so Goodfellas.

The ceremony passed by in a cheery flash. I strolled beamingly down the aisle (ok, inched down looking at my feet in fear of going ass over tits in my very long swishing ivy-gold skirt), left Dad's arm without even noticing and grinned in front ofAndy. The music, performed quite fantastically by juice vs DOLLYman (minus moi) feat. Ed and Mark, was just heart-steamingly wondrous and I made sure everyone clapped everything. I tried not to pull faces at the musicians and couldn't even look at Andy for fear of laughing like a loon. Paul read 'Wedding' by Alice Oswald - one of my favourite poets - like an Oscar-winning actor and Andy and I repeated our short lines and exchanged our kick-ass rings (silversmithed by friend Abi) without really taking it in. It was utterly surreal and outer-bodily. The singers tried to control themselves during David Breslin's lovely piece which contained the line 'The bridegroom is coming in! He is bigger than a big man!'. Ah, how true that is… Gosh, and then we appeared to be all married up, once Cat and Nick had signed their names next to ours. And we popped out of the door whilst the Dollies did some freak-jazz workout and into more glorious sunshine and a million hugs and kisses. Was most gleeful that everyone loved my outfit so much seeing as it all cost about £100 and my top was just a scarf from Accessorize. Hurrah!

Then we all trooped to the garden for a fantastic selection of stalls, arranged by Best Man (in so many respects) Nick. You could eat a beautifully-adorned fairy cake whilst potato-printing a flag to be stuck on bamboo cane which lined the pond, or make your own badge whilst planning your artwork for the paint-Andy-and-Kerry's-new-tent, or get your hand henna-ed whilst watching friends battle it out on the giant Connect 4, or bash the filled-sock bride and groom whilst waiting in line for the coconut shy, or get sawdust under your nails burrowing around in the bran tub if you got one of Mum's quiz questions right. In true village fĂȘte fashion, we all huddled under the yew tree whilst a brief rain shower gatecrashed proceedings, before continuing to drink the most expensive glasses of Pimm's in the whole world and watching people run around the farm on Wendy's fiendish treasure hunt.

Dinner was back in the barn, with everyone at tables named with hilarious mini-music-genres such as Latvian Art Skull Metal and Math-Rock. Was most amusing seeing my Nan, Olive, looking slightly bewildered as she sat down in front of the Gypsy Punk sign. We at the head Noisecore table got to scoff our food first; I unfortunately had regained the vomitous nerve-jangles of earlier as the speeches loomed and could hardly eat any of the (I believe) stonkingly fishy fish pie and rainbow-coloured fruit terrine. Had to slope off with Mum for a brief wailing session before recovering in time for toasts. Dad, who had been fretting about his speech for about 6 months, did a great job, giving my musical life story and saying very nice things about my love and managing to goad Stu about being a Colchester united fan, which is the main thing. Andy was up next, and delivered a brilliant, witty-cool-wordy-oh-yes-THIS-is-why-I-love-him speech, capturing me down to a tee and ending genius-like with a toast to the £10 that he paid to get on the Guardian Soulmate website. Thank GOD he didn't go for the drunken ex-stripper kleptomaniac from Sheffield that he ran away from as she puked on a tube platform after their first date and found me instead!!!!! My speech's success was all down to Harry who, ever on the lookout for a chance to add visuals to everything on the face of the earth, had suggested I use photos. This gave me the chance to make my '8 Reasons Why I Am Happy To Have Andy As My Husband' list a bit more amusing, whack in a few photos of him looking foolish in afro wigs and Up Your Art underpants. Am now slightly regretting not using the photo of him naked on the bed playing his very small ukulele which only just about covered his modesty. Nick (who, even by his standards was on magnificently beaming form the whole day) just had to stand up to inspire cheers and renditions of the cultish 'Land of Castles' song he inspired in his DJ set a few weeks ago, gave an adorable speech and made me well up all over again.

Cat had done the impossible and fulfilled my ambition of having a London landmark wedding cake by creating a four-caked masterpiece with the Globe, the London Eye, the Gherkin AND the Houses of Parliament on it. We had coffee in the conservatory and did some obligatory cake-cutting, then I costumed-changed into evening attire of back-revealing Reiss dress and boots, ready for Andy and my First Song which we'd decided to do instead of a First Dance in the Live Music Yurt. So 'Sweet Child of Mine' was performed in an all-new guitar/melodica/vocals version, though I could hardly play the melodica for lack of breath; hope it rocked a little. It went down marvelously though, which meant we kept the crowd for juice's short but sweet set. Tim, looking like 'a 70s Disco Cop' (Dannie's words), 'Nathan Barley' (one of my friends' words) or 'A Creepy Paedophile' (his sis Emma's words) with his utterly ludicrous moustache, compeered the evening in his own indominitable style (ie shouting more loudly the more high he became), giving some brilliant introductions and starting the way he meant to go on by saying 'Andy and Kerry wanted Bernard Manning to present this but the cunt's dead' in front of all my relatives. Ho ho.

Juice's (www.juicevocalensemble.net) cute set went down very well, and the Elysian Quartet (www.myspace.com/eleysianquartet) followed with a fantastic performance of Gabriel Prokofiev stuff and a long improvised session. The farm animals outside joined in with various snortings and cock-a-doodle-doings and everyone cheered Vince's manic viola scrapings. It was so great to see the faces of some of our friends, who will have never seen a string quartet like this, wide-eyed with amazement and totally loving it. DOLLYman (www.myspace.com/dollyman) were up next, with our usual nutty contempo-jazz thing, the highlight being me singing 'Cheek to Cheek' which I introduced as my ideal First Dance song, but as I was singing Andy would have to dance on his own. Which he duly did until the grinning-from-ear-to-ear Nick joined him. They make a perfect couple… Step 13 (www.myspace.com/step13), most amusingly introduced by Tim as 'a band that some of you know and most of you have been in' delivered a rocking set, Ishu looking brill in his pinstripe suit, Andy rocking away in the corner on his bass and manfully resisting Steve's demand for him to take his shirt off (damn, he paid so much for it he couldn't justify its removal!). The fabulous, My-Perfect-Guest-Band, jazz hipster-hoppers Lazy Habits (www.myspace.com/lazyhabits) finished off the night in enthusiastic fashion, and causing much hilarity for me as I watched my mum and aunt bop away, trying to copy everyone's shape-throwing hand movements. Guttingly cut short by the evil old farm-owner, we retired to the Barn to dance to wedding-friendly soul-funk, groovy indie/kid-bluegrass, party-house and Latino super-grooves from our fabulous DJs Myco, Jim Collins and the Brokeback Mountain Ceilidh Band Soundsystem, Timothy Nuisance and Itchi. Whilst Andy and I fell, exhausted, into our super-comfortable, billowing-in-luxury Bridal Suite, the hardy campers partied on into the night and still all appeared for the marvelous cooked breakfast in the morning. I salute you!

'Three Colours Wed' at the Fleapit on Columbia Road on Sunday night was a small-but-perfectly-formed affair (if you are one of the 13 people who made it to all three Wedfest events, you have our love and extreme admiration). I showed a selection of short films and music vids from some Bjork to the Beasties, some eel-based horror to bizarre erotic animation and more, which was interspersed with Sarah, Sonic Si and my Mum's (in spirit if not in person) fabulous and fiendish Music Quiz. The Bald Britney's Tears team's knowledge of cultish American teen TV themes was not enough for the classical might (and knowledge of Bob Marley's middle name - ask my little bro Daniel if you don't know it) of team Hand Shandy who took away our main event table plants whilst the rest of us commiserated with Mum's leftover bran tub prizes of shoe polish, pastry brushes and strangely small tupperware.

Phew. And it's all, both sadly (because it was the best thing ever having all of our family and friends together under one yurt-tastic roof) and with slight relief (because the weekend called for superhuman levels of organizational strength), over. Now we look forward to honeymooning in a small bikini (me) and very very tight swimming trunks (Andy) as we lounge by our French farmhouse pool and drink copious amounts of rough red wine. Feel really quite back to normal. I get to use my Doctor title for real now, as there's no way I'm being a Mrs. and losing my surname for any man. I'm young, cool and married, you know, like Amy Winehouse or, um… sure there must be someone…


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