Tonight, a special guest post. As top intellectual, media guru, community organiser and all-round Renaissance Man Austen Ivereigh prepares to celebrate his nuptuals, we join Dr Ivereigh as he finalises arrangements and prepares for his stag night. Take it away, Austen:
This is, for me, a hectic and stressful yet strangely exhilarating time. With the papal visit just weeks away, I have had to dedicate 110% to organising Catholic Voices: training the Voices in modern media techniques, giving them in-depth briefings on the questions they are likely to be asked, and making frequent appearances on News 24 to deliver devastating put-downs to ill-informed critics of the Church. (These can all handily be found on Jack Valero’s YouTube channel.) Yet I have also had to dedicate 110% to my beloved, and making sure that we have the perfect wedding. The superhuman exertions involved would have broken a lesser man.
It is of course absolutely wonderful to have had the use of our parish church in Pimlico for the happy day, and my profoundest thanks go to Canon Pat Browne for being so very obliging. Organising the guest list, with so many distinguished individuals invited, has been something of a headache, I don’t mind telling you. I had hoped that my new best friend David Cameron would come, but he informed me that he had some boring business appointment in America to go to. That was a dreadful disappointment.
But most people I’ve asked have been terribly keen. I remember calling my friend Boris Johnson to remind him that he hadn’t RSVPed to his invitation. “How the hell did you get this number?” boomed Boris in his inimitable light-hearted fashion. “Hi Boris,” I said, “I’m just calling to remind you that the wedding is happening this coming Saturday.” “You don’t say?” quipped good old Boris, “Let me check my diary for 2015.” What a joker good old Boris is! One of my closest friends, you know.
And Bruce Kent, too, proved to be a real joker. “Why are you inviting me?” he said, “I mean, we hardly know each other.” “Oh come on Brucie,” I reframed, “we go way back, remember? And you’ll lend so much tone to proceedings.” “Well,” joshed Bruce, “I suppose I might. I don’t have anything else on that day.” Bruce’s japery had me practically rolling around the floor, I can tell you!
And of course, I’ll be looking forward to seeing all my good friends from Citizens UK, my good friends from the Diocese of Westminster, my good friends from the Society of Jesus and my good friends from the Tablet. It makes one feel like a benevolent spider at the heart of a warm and cuddly web.
The stag night, at least, looks like being a little less dramatic. Of course, a sophisticated boulevardier like myself doesn’t need any minding, but it makes me feel better that I’m being guided in these matters by the maestro, who graciously allowed me to take notes on the whiteboard as he was telling me how these things are done in Barcelona. So, before Jack and I go out to hit the tequilas, there’s just a little primping and reframing to be done.
I’ve spent the afternoon relaxing with my favourite Isabel Allende novel, and am now getting into the zone with some groovy music on the hi-fi. I was going to go for Boney M, but on Jack’s advice I’ve chosen to reframe that as Julio Iglesias. And Jack was spot on: just listening to Julio’s golden tones makes me feel ready for action.
And now to get myself outfitted. Rather than wearing one of the matching tracksuits my beloved and I like to wear, I’ve decided on a special dress tracksuit in burgundy velour. Two – no, three – cigars in the top pocket, just in case. My platform shoes are shined especially. A generous splash of the old Hai Karate. And Jack has advised me to go bare-chested save for a big gold crucifix. Jack says it drives the chicas wild.
Rest assured, I won’t be too bad as I say goodbye to the single life. I do have a position to uphold, after all. Although, if I do need to go to Confession, at least I can feel confident that Canon Pat Browne will be terribly understanding. I can confess whatever I remember through my hangover, and he’ll give me a sympathetic pat on the back and a decade of the Rosary. Maybe a bracing cup of tea.
Soon, though, all this singleton frivolity will be behind me, and I shall have the respectable married estate to look forward to. It is with some trepidation and yet anticipation that I embark on this adventure… but no, you’re not going to get my wedding speech out of me. And shame on you for trying! But my thanks to you for your interest and your moral support. Cheerio, and see you on YouTube!