15 February, 2008, Red Hill, Victoria, Australia
Hello and thank you all for being here to share our special day.
First I want to start by thanking my stylists …
A lot of people have come up wondering who did my hair … well it was Dr Follicle in Gertrude Street. Obviously I set the good doctor a reasonable challenge .. I said, 'By god doctor, make me look young … Eventually we reached some sort of compromise … he finished 3 minutes later. It was actually a historic moment in the wedding, and indeed the history of weddings.. Dr Follicle knew it was for a wedding and yet charged me less than retail … $10. It was actually pretty offensive so I paid him $15 …
Thanks so much for coming ...
We’re sorry it’s a Friday, but we’re mates with celebrant and he doesn’t do out-of-towners on Saturdays, so a Friday it is.
If you’ve ever wondered how industrious you are, we’ve made a little list that you can see by the entrance of the marquee that shows in two columns whether you complained or were rapt this was on a Friday. Next to that there’s a questionnaire, with ten questions, multiple choice that basically ask what you got out of the wedding. We’ve done this after a suggestion from Ed Poliness who says providing a simple questionnaire pretty much allows doctors, lawyers, accountants and members of the public service to claim this as a continuing education unit. So no more complaining about Fridays.
It is such a pleasure to see you all … We'd like to make a special mention of people who have travelled a long way …
But we also want to acknowledge people who have travelled a long way not to be here. TE – Japan, RV – Goa; TMc – Switzerland; and a special mention for G and W, who only went as far as Port Fairy not to come.
To the lovely bridesmaids … you know I'm meant to say how beautiful you are. It always makes me feel uncomfortable at weddings. Like bridesmaids are some sort of accoutrement, up there with the dripless candles and the mettalina roses.
So I just want to say - Amanda, Trish, Charlotte - all three of you are more than the net sum of your $200 haircuts and undanceably beautiful shoes.
Trish, you are always beautiful, inside and out. You full to the brim of life and energy and recipes for daal and curries, and when I have my mid life crisis any day now, I’d like you to tell me which festivals I can go to where I can commune with nature and dance nude. You’re a beautiful advertisement for self discovery, and I’ve been told that I’m bad at self-discovery, which until I met you, I would have taken as a compliment.
D’you know who said I was bad at self discovery …?
Actually I won’t say … somebody not invited to the wedding …said this to Tamsin … 'is Tony a good match for you. I mean he’s not very. .. you know … deep thinking'.
To Charlotte and Amanda, Tam’s lovely sisters - you were there on the night that I properly met the lovely 'Juliet' at the Builders Arms and I tell you what, had you looked as you do tonight, and say I was one or two spots over at the bar, well, who knows, we could have had a same but different sort of night tonight.
John Safran asked me to either say or do something wildly inappropriate tonight, presumably just to amuse him – well John, speculating over some sort of alternate reality where I’m shacked up with the sisters? - that might have been it.
Trish, Char, and Amanda, for a long time now you’ve felt like family to me, and for Tam, I believe it’s been even longer. You’re lovely sisters and a great cousin, and it’s a great pleasure to propose a toast in your honour.
To the bridesmaids!
As for the groomsmen, I’ll start with the incomparable Andrew H, who read his all time favourite poem for us today, 'Infinita' by Pablo Neruda. He wanted to do it in the original Spanish, with his mate Phil Bennett offering translations on flashcards, sort of like in that Bob Dylan filmclip from the 60s, but in the end we didn’t get round to it, because of all the work we had to do with the dripless candles.
Anyway, Harves, for me to start going out with Tam, at some point you and I had to break up. It was tough on both of us, because both of us doubted that there was a woman out there who would understand why we threw our keys on the ground to express disgust or why the Dan O’Connell's 100 pint club was the perfect place to listen to music and meet drunken 65 year olds with an interest in The Troubles. But it happened. Now Tam and I spend our Tuesdays there, inhaling Guinness fumes and staring blankly into space.
Daff, although his speech was wonderful, did tell an outright lie with his ‘possible tool’ story. He didn’t write ‘possible tool’ on the dossier .. he wrote ‘possible arsehole’. Another eventual friend of his just copped a simple ‘arsehole’ next to his picture so I actually consider myself quite lucky. I think the fact that I was first on the scene to help revive him when he passed out mid-conversation, scored me the ‘possible’ as a qualifier, and from there, it was just a matter of making the ‘possible’ work for me. His mind wasn’t made up. If I played my cards right, I could peg him back to at worst, something like ‘tool’, or even better, we might actually become friends.
As it is we became amazing friends …
Daff, I expected a bucks day, didn't expect colour-coded spreadsheets. Blue then red meant 'yes' to paintball 'no' to pub. Red then blue meant 'no' to paintball 'yes' to pub. There was no colour for what went on after the pub, but we can assure Tam that blue was used up on paintball and the pub.
Ned, I put you in the bridal party even though we both know that you’re better in photos than me, and that you just spent the golden hour (that’s what filmmaking types like myself call the good light just before sunset) dominating the camera. You are the best brother a person could hope for. That means you’re better than Sam W or David L or some of my other top picks. Dad always says to strangers, ‘you know, Tony is the one who tries to make people laugh for a living, but it’s actually Ned who’s the funny one’. You know that on a level, Dad is right. You’ve shown what you can do tonight, and you can get the dinner table laughing like nobody else. But on another level … who’s to say that I’m really putting my best stuff down at the dinner table? Who’s to say that I’m not just throwing soft jabs while saving my really good stuff for Drive with Lindy Burns or Things We Didn’t get to Do with Fee and Sam? But yes, you are funny, and thoughtful, and loving. I mean what other brother would email the coaching staff at an AFL club to try to get good rookies for his brother’s Dreamteam?
Thanks to Tam’s family. To her father, M, you were unwittingly a part of the wooing process. On that first night at the Builders Arms, the night Tm and I met, It emerged that in your bizarre line of handiwork — and believe me, if you want a Tattslotto machine, or an ice-flute that actually plays, or a replica of a eighteenth century boat, I have Michael’s card here — it emerged that you modified Barbie dolls for one of the comedy sketches on the ill fated The Late Report.
By about week 3, I was the host of that program, mainly because John Safran had somehow managed to have written into a TV contract that he never had to actually appear on the show he was appearing on. By week 5, we were going well enough that I only just held off an attempt by M’s dolls to take the hosts chair.
Anyway, Tam and I chatted about that in our first ever conversation. So congrats on moving us between beer 2 and beer 3 with a minimum of fuss.
Thanks also to you and A, and the other Ms for always extending me a welcoming hand. I look forward to many more catch ups in the future.
To Tam’s mother, Caroline, you have been so supportive of us. You always go the extra mile for your family, and sometimes that is literally, as I’ve watched in bewildered admiration as you’ve driven Melbourne-Barwon Heads-Mebourne-Barwon Heads-Melbourne so we can all be together for Polly’s first birthday. You’ve also taken long service leave over these last few weeks, just to help out with Polly and the wedding preps, and that has been a godsend. Caroline works at the National Trust, so who knows what buildings have been felled so that we can have those mettalina roses. I’m hoping you still have some leave left for yourself, or, if you don’t want to use it on yourself, what’s say. June-ish, and we’ll drop Polly on you for another 3 weeks?
And of course I can’t thank Caroline enough for her generosity and love without also thanking Mr and Mrs H. I grew up without grandparents, and so for me, meeting you and becoming a part of the Hay clan has given me an experience of your generation that I’ve never enjoyed before. Mr H, thanks for your toast. You have the best laugh and smile I’ve encountered, and nobody is better at getting to a party. Except perhaps 90 year old Mrs H, who frolicked with the Australian cricketers at port in Ceylon during the 1936 tour, and who recently left hospital to resume living back at home. Congrats on such a great recovery. You are a hero to your granddaughter — a selfless giver on just about every level— and be warned, Mrs H has a determination to offer either her dinner or her chair to anyone and everyone, even people who already have perfectly good dinners and chairs.
To my sister Sam, not many people choose to live with their sister, but I did, for the best part of five years. Sam is as vague as me, and so there was one night where she locked herself out of the house for two hours. She then waited for me to get home, stepped inside, decided she was hungry and would get a pizza, invited me to come, I decided to come, she asked if I still had the keys, I said yes, I closed the door, felt in my pocket, didn’t have the keys, and so we were both locked outside for another three hours.. You told me once at Fitzgibbon street that you knew Tam was the one for me, because we spent so long each weekend lying in bed laughing. If you can remember any of the jokes, honestly, I’m at that stage in the next novel where any of the old stuff might come in pretty handy. You’ve always been such a great sister, a source of such love and advice and handy medical prescriptions. I want you to know that if you ever need anything from me, like say a children’s book manuscript or perhaps even a quip while you’re watching The Einstein factor, you should honestly feel free to message me any time.
To my other sister, Pippa, the baby baby of our family, famous Australia-wide as the woman who once shoplifted a live lobster from a Chinese restaurant in Little Bourke Street. Our love and thanks.
To my parents.
Dad, Ned used my 'man of the land' gag, despite clear instructions. But seriously, the hours we have spent here, chopping wood together, or in my case, occasionally making contact with the blade instead of the handle, and then moving that wood, from one spot to the next, speaks to just what men of the land we are. It's a great relationship, we genuinely enjoy each other’s company .. share so many interests … and last week one of the great joys of my life was methodically lining up your bald pate in the paintball gun sight ... .
To Mum, you made it through the horrible health scare of 92, and we are all so grateful for it. Three new grandchildren this year, four in total. You've been the best source of advice, love and books, and we're now going to make you do it for another generation.
Finally, to my beautiful bride, Tamsin.
I rang up Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson, seeking tips for giving this bit of the speech, and he didn’t even ask what the topic was, he just lent me the following paragraph …
'They were a generation of diggers who defended this country in a time of great need …'
Tamsin ... we have finally done it, and what a day and night it is going to be. during paintball last week, as I was being pumped full of Dulux Weathershield, I thought Heath Ledger's fun montage from 'Ten Things I Hate About You', arguably the best fun montage in the best romantic comedy to ever be given away free with a Pioneer DVD player in 2003.
But it got me thinking. Ten Things I Love About You. Here they are:
- I love that you wear your heart on your sleeve, which means I generally know what you are thinking, and it also means that I get to laugh at you when you CRIED because you forgot to tape ‘The Farmer Wants a Wife’
- I love that you hate it when car commercials say ‘free air’
- I love the fact that you always look and smell terrific
- I love that you and your late Granny M, seriously hatched a plot to accidentally smash your faces together, and call it an accident so you could get a Medicare funded nose job. BTW - should you ever get that nose job, you’ll ruin your face as badly as Jennifer Grey after Dirty Dancing.
- I love your intelligence, and the insight you have into novels and politics and personal relations. I’m sometimes scared to show you my work, because you’ll actually point out the problems to me, instead of the ‘yes’ men I try to surround myself with.
- I love your kindness and your willingness to empathise with others. For example, in the absolute panic of this wedding preparation, you walked the streets for 2 hours trying to find a home for a lost Chihuahua, and you did this in spite of the fact that neither of us are all that keen on small dogs.
- I love your art – which is currently in temporary hiatus. You are a great painter, and I know you’ve sacrificed a lot of painting time lately to raise Polly, and organise this wedding, and I love you for that too.
- I love your personal crusade against Americans saying the word ‘erbs’ instead of ‘herbs’. As you have correctly pointed out, why don’t thy drop other ‘atiches’ too. Like ‘ippo and ‘oliday?’
- I love you as a mother, and know that in terms of effort and morality and love and example, Polly could not have a better mother. Every day I look at her big beautiful eyes, I see yours. And I must say it’s also great to see my eye colour, and I’m even thinking of dying her lashes later this week so we can completely match up.
- Finally, I love the fact you finally married me. That we have been in love for nearly a decade, that we have survived a broken engagement, and emerged stronger - to share this special day with so many of .our family and friends You are the toughest, most courageous person I know. And no amount of crying because you missed ‘The Farmer Wants a Wife’ is going to change that.
We did it!
THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT