Last night I watched the visual smorgasbord which is The Eurovision Song Contest. It is a bonkers but nonetheless thoroughly entertaining romp around Europe and for some reason Australia, and it proved that in a super groovy high tech digital age, there are some people who are still more than happy to make a bit of a tit of themselves, and for that I love them. Quite why the Italian chap and the dancing gorilla didn’t smash their way to the number spot is completely unfathomable, and then there was a the Austrian guy, for some reason called Nathan Trent, who was swinging about on a moon, but if there was any justice in the world the Romanian yodelling/hip hop crossover should have elevated the artists to multi millionaires overnight. But their genius was also their undoing.
As Nathan was cuddling his moon most people around the world were looking at the moon and not him. Men were thinking ‘what kind of poundage is the support cable good for?’ and women were Googling if IKEA sold one of those massive moons as it would look great by the breakfast bar. But nobody was looking at him. The Italian could have been singing out his supermarket shopping list, because when you’re on stage with a dancing gorilla nobody is paying the blindest bit of notice to anything else. And the yodelling and rapping was great right up until the point two massive cannons came into the scene and the rapper just stood on one of them waving like a lunatic. Why were they there? How heavy were they? Do they still fire? Do you need a firearms license for a cannon? Can you still buy ammunition for them?…these were all the things going through my mind…not the song.
And so that brings me to weddings. Picture the scene: you’re incredibly hungover wearing a tailed coat that is single handedly helping to raise your core temperature to inferno level, sucking the last moisture out of your body. Your head is pounding and things like breathing and raising your eyebrows are unbelievably painful, all compounded by severe exhaustion thanks to finally getting to bed just before 6am. It’s now 3pm and you’re frantically trying to make a cable that clearly doesn’t fit your laptop…fit your laptop. Sweat is dripping off your brow and your girlfriend who is among the 100 or so wedding guests hates you and is planning to make this your last public event together.
People are chatting amongst themselves, when finally some bright spark with an iPhone bounces it on to the screen, except the bluetooth connection is shaky, but you plough on anyhow. Luckily this is only the beginning of your troubles because the guys behind the pillar can’t see the screen, and the ones over there can’t see it because there’s too much sun. You then pull out the teddy bear he used to have when he was 4 but absolutely nobody can see that because the teddy is around 10cm tall. And then you go for broke by bringing on one of the stag party modeling the gimp suit the groom wore all weekend. He just stands there. You say ‘this is the gimp suit the groom wore on the stag weekend’. He just stands there.
Props are hideously difficult to pull off. Everybody has got to be able to see them, and that never happens. Technology has got to run smoothly…and that never happens. Power supplies, wifi signals, cables and fading batteries are just some of the things that can hamper progress, but there’s a much more basic reason why you should make your day as simple as possible and avoid them at all costs: and that’s because if you have props, not a single person will be looking at you, or listening to you, which is precisely the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.
Best Men have a hectic enough time without loading themselves up with even more hassle. There’s no replacement for a really funny, well written speech. So my advice is to keep it simple, keep all eyes on you, and instead of walking around with a bundle of cables and a remote control, have a nice glass of champagne and relax.