(Nice Day for a) ROMANTIC DOG WEDDING, 4th March 2016
Just got my period. It’s pretty exciting really, the way it all works, “it” being our bodies and the whole entire thing. I’m living with another female person in the house so yeah, it all synchs up, and it’s really like magic. You know it’s coming – everyone starts looking more attractive, this time I got wildly angry at my friend for saying he was going to ditch his bass player, even though the sun was shining and we were riding home after a delux swim in the ocean listening to AC/DC – some smooth low-key number I had never heard before – in his beat up van that smells like Australia.
Anyway, nice reminder that one’s an animal. Sex-appeal, anger, tears, all linked up to tiny juices flowing round us, the moon, pheromonal molecules entering our skin. So, yeah, our friends put on a wedding for dogs – “Romantic Dog Wedding” – this week, and it’s good to suddenly remember once in a while that you’re pretty much covered in fur and at the mercy of mysterious forces and not just the workings of your big grey brain too.
The dogs were “Ben” and “Pony”. A Border Collie and a rescued Greyhound. Our country doesn’t recognise unions between two males at the moment, but countries are not as old as love and unions between two dogs or two men so the joke’s on us. (Fact check please). I put on lipstick and high heels, a dress with no bras – my female companion similarly dolled, as in, attired a little less animally that we might otherwise be, and headed to the river.
Big, pale, skin coloured gum trees towered upwards around us, all their crooked arms swaying languidly over the scene. There was a small crowd, writer Matt Giles passed us with his dog Abbey who had to leave early, maybe to finish their respective PhDs. There were tall women in dresses, Alex Last was djing with the dj set up laid out on top of a boogie board, a pathway of vines and flowers showing where the aisle would be, rugs on each side, and Chloe – human Mother of the Groom – came towards us to offer mimosas from a table laid with champagne, beverages and a beautiful coconut wedding cake.
Why a dog wedding? Because we are free, I guess, and because there was no better place to be, or event to conjure than a dog wedding by the river on a Monday afternoon in a city built on stolen land and stolen minerals and a decimated ancient culture. What else are we meant to do? Buy jet skis?
So everyone mingled, the Border Collie groom was a little late but arrived, then the celebrant, Paddle Clubb mastermind Matt Aitken, arrived, then Lyndon Blue, wedding band-member, arrived in a powder blue suit, and the ceremony could begin. The boogie board played “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal as the grooms and a dishevelled Border Collie bridesmaid were walked up the aisle, everyone took their places, and Matt fumbled through a wonderful and brief ceremony, starting somewhat irreverently with the words “Dearly Beloved, Who Let the Dogs Out?” There were salmon-coloured ribbons to tie the rings on to the grooms, they were pronounced husband and husband, kissed, and after much cheering the coconut wedding cake was served, musician Rachael Dease encouraging young kids to not be shy and take some first.
It was definitely the best dog wedding any of us had been to, and the band hadn’t even started. Stephen Bellair was there with Evie, a white teenage miniature falcor labrador. Tristan Fidler was there, resplendent repository of a million beautiful, and tragic, and inspired thoughts I’m yet to be privvy to, Julia Suddenly was there, ray of sun and moonlight showering gold and myrrh on us from her glowing face etc, etc, etc.
Me and my hot date were nearly ready to leave, deciding between going for a paddle on the kayaks or heading back to the coast by the flip of a coin. Luckily the coin said stay because then came the band. This will remain one of my musical highlights of 2016 even if a thousand more great musical things happen. The band was called both “His Master’s Voice” and “The Bark Simpsons”, two names picked from a communal facebook list of suggestions, and they were incredible. Lyndon Blue on guitar, Chris Last on bass, Brett Smith on saxophone, Alex Last on boogie board laptop, and, the pinnacle of the sinuous body of fluff, the unleashable Alex Griffin.
At first it was obvious they had all never played together, they didn’t know at all what they were going to do, and took a long time to set up in which Alex just danced at the front of the group, in front of the boogie board, in his fez and yellow jacket, with his big faux-sad eyes drawing up to the sky then glancing over the crowd, then eyeballing people one by one for effect. Eva next to me, French artist, was instantly obsessed and kept saying “He is Magic!” and it was entirely true.
Then the band began playing: Alex dropped a beat, Chris and Lyndon somehow locked in, Brett breathed panpipe sax over the top and through the just-birthed theme, and Alex started the first of three 100% improvised and 100% classic dog-wedding songs, with each band member having their moment to shine, and all the wedding guests laughing or swaying or iphoning in responsive pleasure.
Yeah, the whole thing was genius, actually filled with love, life-giving, under trees, by the water, honouring to another species, and only possible in a free land of this kind, with all the trouble and lack of trouble resting underneath our feet and in the air around us and up in the gum branches and way up into the spheres. Definitely the nicest day in the history of the world for a dog wedding.