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Sunday 18th June 2006

During my 50 dates I took one of the girls to a wedding where she knew no-one (not even me) and today I got to see how she might have felt as I attended the marriage of a man I had made faint and his Trinidadian Hindu bride who is apparently not concerned about becoming to betrothed to a man who can't even have a penile injury described to him without keeling over.
I have to say that everyone made me feel very welcome from my arrival last night onwards. I had arrived at the bride's family home to be greeted with a fair sized pre-wedding dinner party and fed with a variety of vegetarian Indian food and got to meet various relatives and friends, both from Trinidad and England. Given I knew no-one and that this could have been a very random and surreal excursion I was surprised by how quickly I felt totally at home. When people asked me if it was weird being here I had to admit that the weird thing was that I felt like I belonged there. As I admitted to the groom at the wedding, a couple of years ago I would have been too self-conscious to accpet his invitation, but after all the crazy stuff I did for the Hercules show, this felt like a coincidence that I couldn't ignore and a possible adventure and even if it had been tedious or embarrassing (neither of which it was) then it would only have been a day of my life gone. Though there had been times as I made my way there when I considered that this might have been an elaborate practical joke or trap of some kind. Someone could have decided to pretend to be the bloke who fainted at that gig in order to lure me to Trinidad (where I found out too late it’s all "I for me, you for you" to , I don't know, force me to do a gig for no fee. Or kidnap me and make me act as a sex slave to a harem of beautiful Trinidadian women. Or something bad. It would have been an elaborate and unusual lie, but those are the kind of lies that work best.
The actual wedding was in a vast building in the middle of nowhere and there were hundreds of guests. The room was decorated in pink and purple in an extremely extravagant fashion and the ceremony was taking place on a stage at the front with all particpants in luxuriant costumes. The Hindu ceremony is very long (and even this somewhat expurgated version took over an hour) so even as we arrived things had begun and the bride was being taken through some ceremonial precursor by the Pundit (that's what they call vicars in the Hindu religion - which at least is a bit more honest. I'd like to think of all religious people as pundits, proferring opinions on what might be going on). The groom arrived a bit later, looking very swanky in a turban and Indian clothing - none of this had been in the Trinidad song and far from robbing and killing me all the locals I met seemed to be very keen to make me as happy as possible and if anything give me loads of free stuff. The taxi driver had lied to me through song. Like Homer Simpson, I hate it when that happens.
I suppose when I had been invited I had had preconceptions about what a wedding in Trinidad would be. I had assumed we'd be on a beach and that rum based drinks would be flowing and maybe there would be a bevy of dusky maidens in bikinis serving me mangoes and pineapples while I lay back on a lounger in the sun. But I had been wrong to imagine that, which is why you should never generalise about a country or fantasise about what they might have to offer you. Instead I was at a big Indian style wedding (proper Indian, not the incorrectly attributed West Indian) with vegetarian food and no alcohol. If it wasn't strange enough to be at the nuptials of some people I couldn't really claim to know anything about, it was also slightly difficult to get my head round all these clashes of cultures and preconceived notions. But I did become emotionally involved and really liked the man I had made faint (who was now I a turban) and his beautiful, laughing bride. I had planned to get payback by fainting at some crucial moment of the ceremony, but it seemed inappropriate and unlike some people I am happy to let the attention stay focused on the people on stage without having to make it all about I for me.
And not getting drunk at a wedding seemed like a pretty good call. It means everyone remembers everything and no-one can claim later that they didn't know what they were doing because they were pissed!
I had a lovely time and am considering renting myself out as a wedding guest to people who read this weblog and have a spurious connection to me. This time I did it in return for food and non-alcoholic drinks, but next time I will be charging for my appearance. I could see that the 250 or so Trinidadians were pretty astonished to see that Richard Herring had made it along for the wedding. They pretended not to know who I was, which was nice, but I know that the minute I have had sex with Jordan they will be naming a stadium of some kind after me.
I had to dash away to get my flight back to Tobago which I nearly didn't make thanks to my Trinidad taxi being half an hour late - and I didn't even get any songs from the driver to calm my fears or to try and turn me against the Tobagonians, but I escaped the island having had nothing stolen from me at all, except my heart.
I don't mean that in a metaphorical sense, whilst I wasn't looking a Trinidadian youth cut out my actual heart and replaced it with an old coke can. It was a very crafty manoeuvre and apparently he can make up to 10 T&T dollars for it if he has the right contacts.

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