Sunday, April 13, 2008

Analysis paralysis

Have you ever done that thing where you promise to pool all the photos you have from a wedding? It never seems to happen, even with the benefits of Flickr and their kin.

Have you ever thought about the number of photos you would have if you managed it? We took 43 decent photos at Spankee and Islay’s wedding last week. If that’s an average, you’re looking at over 4,000 in total, plus all the official photos. That’s a picture every 10 seconds.

And that’s just the visual stuff you capture, there’s also all the stuff you miss. Think of all the sounds, tastes and smells; think of all the interactions - millions and billions of them; most of which you have no idea about. You go to a wedding, but at the same time, you’re barely there at all. The Spankees had a ‘fake cake cutting’ photoshoot away from prying eyes – I only know this because as an usher I had the itinerary of the day, almost nobody else will know it happened.

Where else, but at a wedding, do you spend a day ‘stripping the willow’, chatting with a disillusioned tabloid photographer, finding out how difficult it is to edit articles for The Lancet, trying to identify whether those shoes were Jimmy Choo and trading jokes a minor celebrity?

And then there’s the effort, £1000 plus per hour to put the show on, every last experience, from the cake to the speeches to the flushing toilets provided by someone. And then there’s the bride and groom; the only people who truly know what’s going on and the focal point of the whole gig. Yet whilst so much is channelled through them; at the same time they are in an entirely separate bubble of their own bewildered happiness. At the end of the night, as people prepared to board the coaches back to the hotel, I left Spankee and Islay standing practically on their own in the middle of the dancefloor smiling widely, but apparently unable to know what to do next.

This is why weddings blow my mind. A hundred or so people, many of whom you don’t know and never will, but whose lives are separated from your own by just one or two people. You eat with them, dance with them, talk to some of them, hell, you even pray with them; yet you’ll never really know them.

Perhaps it’s not wise to analyse these things. All I can say is that Spankee’s wedding was one of the best I have ever been to. With infuriating logicality, he pointed out that nobody was going to say anything different. He’s right, as he usually is (whether it’s how mobile phones work or choosing a wife) but if we have a friendship based on anything it’s probably on house music, but otherwise it’s honesty. And it was a great day. He even said something nice about me and our friends that bashfulness ensured I forgot the moment he said it.

Alex James says that you shouldn’t know why your friends are your friends. If you do, then they’re not your friends, they’re your fans. I’ve tried analysing why my friends like me (indeed, if my friends like me), but have come to the conclusion that this isn’t my concern, I simply know who my friends are and how much I like them. And with that I’m quite content.


I liked this post and thought it was very true, though I lack the analytical power to tell you exactly why. Congratulations to your friend Spankee. :)

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