Don’t have nightmares, do sleep well
I had a terrible nightmare last night. Terrible, terrible nightmare. It was just a normal day really and I’d gone to bed after a bit of a session down the Pawleyne. I guess my mistake was eating cheese on toast when I got in. After 10 pints, 4 double vodkas and red bull, a bottle of wine, 4 or 5 lines of charlie, some Mandy, a few of those pills from that nice man with the suitcase and some magic mushrooms I tend to feel a bit peckish and cheese on toast always hits the spot.
I am woken by the phone ringing. It was my assistant and right hand man, Muktar, “Mr Pye, Mr Pye, I’m outside. We need to leave for the wedding!” Shit it! I had no idea I had a wedding to shoot this morning but it does account for all those missed calls and messages from the bride last night. I’d better get going. That last bit wasn’t really part of the nightmare and is in fact a pretty realistic depiction of a normal Saturday morning round at my Unobtrusive Manor. This is when it gets freaky. I try to pull back my black satin sheets and realise that both my hands are broken. Shit it! I struggle out and make my way down stairs. I’d put my shirt in the machine to wash the previous night but not only had I forgotten to take it out there was now just a huge bloodshot eye staring out from the little port hole window. Nightmare! Two broken hands and a Kraken in my Miele!
I open the front door with my teeth to let Muktar in. He has a huge beard and smells of pies. This is normal. I tell him to grab the camera bag and we set off. After a couple of miles I admit my mistake and let Muktar drive. We’re horribly lost so I fire up the Sat Nav I bought on eBay. It flickers to life but on the screen is just an old episode of Springwatch. I open a packet of sausage rolls and settle back. I look round at Muktar to check he’s got his eyes on the road and isn’t sneaking a peak at the show. I know how much he loves nature programmes as they don’t have countryside in Afghanistan. I can’t see him. My vision is blurred. A total blur out. I look back at the Sat Nav. Sharp as a knife. Springwatch is as clear as day. I look back at Mukky - nothing! Just blur. Shit it! I can’t photograph a wedding with no shirt, blurred vision and broken hands. Panicked, I grab the wheel with my armpit and the car spins out of control, spinning and spinning and spinning but it just carries on down the motorway on it’s relentless journey of doom. On the Sat Nav screen a small tortoiseshell butterfly flickers past. It’s lovely. Really lovely. My revery is shattered by screeching, screaming and sparks flying. The car suddenly grinds to a halt - we have a flat tyre. Nightmare!
Bollocking Shit Its. I jump out and flip the boot open with my foot so I can get the spare out. There is no spare tyre! Instead there are approximately 100,000 children’s teeth and a miniature sized living version of The Smiths playing “What Difference Does It Make?” - I hate The Smiths! Miserable northern gaylords! To make matters worse those teeth are worth about £250,000 at the current exchange rate if my youngest, Rio, gets hold of them. Nightmare! “All men have secrets and here is mine so let it be known,” warbles Morrissey out of the boot. I take an executive decision to walk the rest of the way. I get Muktar to remove the camera bag and the emergency group shot wheelchair before torching the car. “I’m not fond of you wo ho ho,” I sing as we watch the blaze from a safe distance. The car explodes, showering us in thousands of tiny teeth. Result. The Queen is Dead.
We start to make our way on foot, or at least Muktar does, both of my legs have snapped off just below the knee, and he is carrying me on his back. After 8 miles I remember the emergency wheelchair and I ride the rest of the way in relative comfort. Apart from a heated debate about sausage rolls versus pork pies the rest of the journey passed without incident and we arrived in Essex. There are three places in the world you should never take a wedding booking - Romania, Afghanistan and Essex. I shot a wedding once in Romania and when I checked into my hotel there was a huge turd in the toilet. I went down to reception and complained that I’d asked for a room with a view not a room with a .... Forget it - they didn’t get it either. As for Afghanistan I’ve never been able to finish a wedding there without being blown to pieces by an American drone. Imagine being a wedding planner there. Flowers, check, bunting, check, missile strike, check.
We head straight to the bridal suite to photograph the bridal preps, ignoring the groom in the bar regaling his fat headed ushers with tales of dogging and derring do. I clock the fact that he is an albino, has a hair lip and is, by the medical definition, obese. We all have a cross to bear and mine is photographing fuckers like this. A bright orange bridesmaid with a large forehead lets us in and points over to the bride lying on an operating table - "Kerry is over there having her face done." I vomit into a bin. Having her face done is a bit of an understatement. A full on ER medical surgical emergency surgery scene greets us. A Chinese doctor has the bride’s face in his hands and is gently sliding it into a silver bowl. “Hi Derek - I’m Kerry. I decided to completely surprise Darren on our biggest of big days by having a face transplant. He hasn’t seen the dress either." All the bridesmaids clap their hands like sea lions. Kerry’s bloody sinewy skull looks up at us and smiles. Muktar vomits on my vomit. “You’ve lost weight,” is all I can say, and the large fore-headed orange bridesmaids burst in to spontaneous sea lion applause. “Maybe best we come back when you have your new face on,” I say, “we’ll pop back in 15 mins.” We leave and make our way downstairs. I need a drink.
In the bar the albino groom comes over. He reeks of booze but so do I so I instantly warm to him. He introduces himself and buys me a drink. I love this guy. We chat for ages about my life as the world’s greatest living wedding photographer, my achievements and awards to date. After several large JD and cokes he suggests it might be a good idea to get a shot of him and his ushers outside the venue. This is a terrible idea but as he’s bought me loads of booze I reluctantly agree. I tell him we’ll sort the cameras out and meet him outside. We head to the door and open it expecting to see the delightful venue car park, the ideal location in my book for a fat headed groom and ushers shoot but instead we are in Naples. I close the door. This can’t be right. I open it. Naples. I try opening and closing it really really quickly. Naples. Naples. Naples. Shit it. If we go out there we might not get back into Essex. It’s at this point that I take a life changing decision. Life changing for Muktar at least. “Fuck it,” I declare in perfect Italian, “Lets go and shoot the bride.”
We head upstairs to the bridal suite. The bridesmaids are walking down the corridor adjusting their tits, no surprise as bridesmaids seem to spend most of any wedding continuously tucking their tits in. “You can go in now,” screeches the first bridesmaid, “she’s on her own waiting for her Dad.” I knock on the door. No answer. I knock a few more times and then, losing my patience, push the door open, erm OK so I violently push the door open. There is the unmistakable sound of the bride’s skull cracking, a sound I have heard countless times before. Shit it! The bride is out for the count. This is bad news, really bad news. There is no way on earth that the first dance is going to start on time now. It could be hours before she comes round and is able to walk down the aisle. Unless, unless... mmm....the brides’s old face...mmm... in the surgical bowl next to the operating table... mmmm... we have the dress...mmm...and the shoes on the unconscious bride....mmmm..... she’s roughly as tall as .....same figure as....mmm...it might just work...the bigger the lie....mmm
And so it was that Muktar got married. It was a lovely day and I’ll be posting a sneak peak on the blog once he’s back from honeymoon. Weddings can be a nightmare but if you avoid cheese just before bedtime and never walk through the door to Naples not much can really go wrong.
Don’t have nightmares, do sleep well, avoid complex cheese, booze and drugs cocktails.
All the best