The Best Man's Speech ~ 23 August 2002...
This was Ben's speech at Simon's wedding last Friday.
I first met Simon in about 1987 at “Champagnes”, Horsham's hippest live music venue. He was there to catch a set by a band who at the time were taking the Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire music scenes by storm with their unusual, some might say naïve, mix of white funk and black punk. That band were “Stigmata Club” and if I remember rightly I was the bass player and vocalist, and on this particular night I was wearing DM shoes, cycling shorts, black roll neck, fake national health specs and several gold chains.... in an ironic manner of course, this was the 80’s after all.
It is perhaps worth noting that Simon, who after we’d finished playing was introduced to me by a mutual friend, was sporting a very tidy beard, a pale blue golfing jumper, chinos, a pair of grey slip-ons and something I can only describe as a mullet... a look that suggested culture, maturity and a fear of being refused service at the bar.
I was determined to see beyond the facial hair and we got chatting. I quickly realised that here was a fella obsessed by style, fashion, music, design and popular culture, but with almost no interest whatsoever in razors. We hit it off immediately and talked about our hopes and dreams for the future. In retrospect, I’m glad the band broke up without a record deal saving me from a life of rock and roll excess … and I’m sure Simon is equally pleased that he changed his mind about joining the navy and seeing the world.
Over the next few years I saw a lot more of Simon and got to know more about his past. He told me of the early 80’s when he was a “casual”, a tracksuit wearing tearaway, and how he used to “run with the boys” causing mayhem around the towns and villages of Sussex. In fact, Simon later admitted that it might be more accurate to say that he “Ran behind the boys” and only witnessed the mayhem from a safe distance, before realising that he was mixing with some of the hardest men in Billingshurst ... it was time to move on.
He told me of the best job he’d ever had, working in a ladies' shoe shop. Perhaps displaying early signs of fetishism, he explained how he had to fetch the shoes from down a steep staircase in the basement and occasionally on his ascent he would be able to see up the ladies skirts. It was on one such occasion that he made a shock discovery about his boss Mrs Williams, which explained why she also left the loo seat up and why she had to order her shoes from a special shop in London.
A few years later Simon moved to Balham, got a proper job, and traded in his beard for an unreliable racing car.... it was time to compete with his father in some tangible way, and how better than strapped into a souped up Mini Cooper... stationary at the side of a race track, punching the steering wheel and screaming “Bugger it...bugger it to hell”, while Mr Jordan senior raced past shouting “You’ll never beat me son! Never!”
Every so often over the years Simon and I would meet for lunch or perhaps a few beers in the pub of an evening and he would try to explain to me exactly what it is that he does for a living. It turns out that he helps provide creative solutions incorporating marketing strategies and aesthetic desires in a variety of commercial marketplaces.... or something like that... I suggest if you have a few hours to kill you ask him yourself!
Anyone who has ever stayed with Simon of a weekend will know, and others should be warned, that after a night on the town, on awakening and moving around confined spaces, he is likely to involuntarily fill the air with a stench that can be described at the very least as primeval and that windows and doors have to be flung open with much haste and, as the other unfortunate occupants of Simon's space run for sanctuary screaming their complaints, the man himself grins like a proud father who has just witnessed the arrival of his first born.
Moving on now to more pleasant pastures, and focusing on what it is that brings all of us here today……
And so it was that a few years back Simon met Sarah Woodhead, a petite and attractive journalist from Manchester making quite a name for herself in the fashion writing business. Before long the couple had fallen in love and decided it was time to move in together and buy their own flat... well technically I think it was Sarah who bought the flat... Simon bought the Scooter.
The happy couple spent many a relaxing evening in Stoke Newington, sipping fine wines and listening to the sound of Yardie bullets ricocheting around the streets below. But after a few years they grew tired of the excitement of North London, having to duck under yellow Police incident tape and scrape sawdust off your shoes on the way home from work had lost it’s buzz.
Sarah's career was going well and Simon was a partner in his own business called “Jump”. He’d got the idea for the name from an ex-colleague, who one morning after checking his e-mails had inexplicably leapt out of the window behind him. Being only two floors up everyone agreed it couldn't have been an attempt to voluntarily shuffle off this mortal coil, more likely a knee-jerk reaction to one of Simon's trouser shouts. The colleague was uninjured but the company was born.
A little while back Simon and Sarah moved to a lovely house in East Dullish. Perhaps, now they have a bit more space and a garden, it won’t be long before we hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet.... when Sarah finally gets that dog she has yearned for, for so long.
BUT SERIOUSLY..... I would like to ask every person here to join with me in a toast, wishing Simon and Sarah every happiness for their future. I hope all your dreams come true.
“To Simon and Sarah”