Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. The temperature here in London has been even hotter than on the day we got married, and back in 2001 that was the hottest day of the year. Just like last year, we drove into town to have lunch at a branch of Wagamama. Unlike last year we didn’t have to pay for parking. We went to the restaurant on Dean Street which is called a “Noodle Lab”. They test out menu items there before introducing them to other branches.
Going to Wagamama for lunch, with the children, is a regular part of our anniversary celebrations. So too is watching the wedding video, which I transferred to DVD many years ago. We watched about half of it today. It didn’t feel like a year since we last played it. I recall a comedy sketch from the 1990s, possibly on “The Mary Whitehouse Experience”, which involved members of the cast watching a re-run of the BBC sitcom “Dad’s Army”. They took it in turns to say, “He’s dead” about each of the main characters. Within 10 years of the show’s last episode (which was broadcast in 1977) only Clive Dunn and Ian Lavender, of the main cast, were still alive. The former died in 2012, aged 92, and the latter is still with us. We try to avoid replicating that old comedy sketch while watching the wedding video, but many of the guests are no longer with us, and we point this out when they appear. The two oldest invitees, both in their 90s at the time, didn’t make it to the end of the end of 2001. The first couple who appear in the video, an older cousin of my father-in-law, and her husband, have long since passed on. The husband would be celebrating his 100th birthday next month if he were still around.
As an unrepentant list-maker, last week I made a note of the guests who are no longer alive and discovered that the tally had only moved into double figures late last year, with the death of my aunt down in Southampton. My father-in-law’s brother died back in May, and that took us to 11. There may be others that we don’t know about. We have lost touch with some of them, particularly a group of my wife’s old work colleagues. The oldest surviving guest is my own father, born in 1930.
Around 30 minutes of the wedding video consists of the night’s musical entertainment, my brother and me playing guitar and singing, either side of midnight. The songs ranged from the appropriate (“Brown Eyed Girl”, “I’ll Keep You Satisfied”) to the much less appropriate (“Delilah”). At the end of 2001 I booked some time at the old Denmark Street Studios for the two of us to make proper recordings of most of them. Here, for the first time on this Blog, is some audio content, the two of us performing a cover of “Another Suitcase in Another Hall”. It’s what we were doing exactly 18 years ago tonight.