Mazeltov!

Chaucer_MadoxBrown

Last night to the most luxurious wedding I have ever been to, at the Art Gallery of NSW.

The taxi to get me there never arrived so I drove. There was valet parking!

The ceremony took place in the Schaeffer room, in which you will find Ford Madox Brown’s picture of Chaucer at the court of Edward III.

There is also a picture by Henry Scott Tuke, A sailor’s yarn.

tuke

Tuke painted the picture when working at Falmouth, where he had purchased an old ship (presumably not actually seaworthy) and set it up as his house and studio. The painting was exhibited in London in 1887 and entered the NSW collection in 1889.

The plaque on the wall names the the boy featured in the painting and mentions that he lived with Tuke on the ship for some years. Tuke, the note deadpanly adds, later became known for his genre pictures of boys/youths bathing.

There were some interesting people there, including the girl who beat me in sixth class, whom I last saw 32 years ago. She was one of the bride’s best friends from high school and witnessed the register.

To be at a wedding as a gay man or, in this case, to be there on one’s own, is a slightly awkward situation. They are the heterosexual coupling moment par excellence. (We can all go to the Family Court when it is over.) There was a moment when I toyed with the thought: would I not like to have a wedding myself?

And then, for some odd reason, the celebrant started reading all the formal stuff from the Marriage Act, including the now statutorily entrenched common law definition of marriage, which states (thus precluding any growth or development of the common law to meet contemporary standards) that marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

Of course, the “for life” bit is as at the time of getting married, since otherwise one would need to add “subject to the provisions of the Family Law Act.”

Nor is the bit about to the exclusion of all others is really true any more. Now it is possible to be married and simultaneously have a multiplicity of de facto relationships, each with pretty much the same consequences as marriage, at least so far as property division on separation, inheritance (well, almost) and status of children (if any) are concerned.

The formal Marriage Act bit did make me almost come round to the opinion that some hold (and generally speaking was my starting position years ago in relation to marriage). Why is the state in this business?

Nevertheless, it was a lovely wedding and they are a happy and fortunate pair. The government has nothing to do with that at all.

The second-last song was “When I’m 64.” There was a playful little alteration of the usual text:

Digging the garden, smoking the weed
Who could ask for more?

I’m not sure how many people spotted it: it was a little musos’ joke.

The last song was “YMCA.” The groom knew the movements better than I did.

My car was waiting for me right outside the front door. I doubt if it will ever again be parked in a spot so grand.

B and R, Mazeltov!

2 Responses to “Mazeltov!”

  1. Victor Says:

    I can understand “When I’m 64” being sung at a wedding but “YMCA” seems a more unusual choice for a heterosexual bonding.

    I didn’t realise that the Gallery hosted weddings but I should think that it makes a lovely venue for a celebration.

    • marcellous Says:

      You are right, Victor. I don’t believe the gallery usually hosts weddings, and certainly not of just anybody who asks. There was a (quite proper but not really appropriate to give more details of here) connexion which made this case an exception.

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