Posted by: docdenbow | July 9, 2013

Unaccustomed As I Am

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking I have slowly, inexorably realised that that in a mere fifteen months I have to stand before an assembled throng of people of all ages to deliver a keynote speech. Fifteen months I hear you cry, that’s plenty of time. I suppose it is, even Nick Clegg could probably think of something vaguely interesting to say if you gave him fifteen months to put it together. Nicky could get his bestest speech writers together to knock something out for him and he could read it from the autocue without hesitation, deviation or repetition and he may even be able to fake sincerity and slip in the odd *safe* joke or two.

Me, I don’t have a speech writer and although you may not believe it I don’t even possess an autocue. Autocue machine gizmos are knocking around on EBay for about £1000, but there are reasons why I won’t buy one.

  • I suffer from techno fear
  • Can’t afford £1000
  • The public speaking is a one off
  • I’m not very good at reading out loud.
  • I’d look a prat reading off an autocue.

As someone who writes frequently, I’m very rarely stuck for something to say. I’ve even been told I talk too much and to “shut up,” so what’s the problem with public speaking? Well, in many ways there is none. Under many circumstances I would be perfectly happy and confident getting on my hind legs in front of an audience and boring them senseless as I drone on and on and on about a given subject. In fact, boring folks about theories regarding the assassination of JFK is something that I have honed to the finest of arts throughout my adult life. True, I have never lectured on the subject but have a bored a semi captive audience to the point of nausea regarding the frailties of the “single bullet theory.”

But that’s different.

In those kind of circumstances it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things if I make a tit of myself. That sort of mini public speech is of very little consequence. I could even have a go at stand up comedy and be crap, raising not even the smallest giggle. Would it matter? Not really as long as I was nimble enough to avoid the objects hurled in my direction and have a thick enough skin not to give a damn. Across the length and breadth of these fair isles there are those who have delivered orations and have been jeered, booed, derided, mocked by the audience and have felt embarrassed, humiliated even driven to suicidal thoughts by their abject performance. Yet, those feelings of shame will surely dissipate in time and a normal life will resume as the dreadful day disappears into the cloudy mists of memory. Memory that will serve the orator well, for as the years roll by, the attempt at public speaking becomes ironically humourous or the memory will distort the actualité to improve many times over the reception of the attempt. So it’s not that scary then, is it?

Not too sure about that.

Back to the fifteen months……….

In just over a year my eldest daughter is to be married. The thought of my daughter marrying makes me feel positively ancient, but also very proud that Mrs Denbow and I have brought someone into the world who can be loved. In fact Mrs Denbow and I have brought two people into the world who are loved by their *partners* (my word how I hate that term) so all in all we haven’t done a bad job. Whilst I am looking forward to the wedding for all the right reasons there is a cloud looming over the joyfulness of that day.

I am the Father Of The Bride.

Every Father Of The Bride has to make a speech. This speech, this very public speech is important. It is an occasion where one cannot make a right pillock of himself as it will reflect badly on the Bride and potentially ruin the entire day. So I have spent the last few weeks in a state of suppressed terror trying to work out what the hell I’m going to say. “Friends” have sent me YouTube links to Rowan Atkinson’s famous Father Of The Bride speech and have suggest I modify a tad, change a few names around, memorize it and use that. I truly believe that is not really a terribly good idea.

So what shall I do? As I have stated I have fifteen months to prepare myself and to mull over just what I shall say. I have a sneaky feeling that those fifteen months will pass in the blink of an eye and typical of me I will be under prepared and I’ll have to just “wing” it on the big day. That will lead me into making a total dog’s breakfast of the entire thing as I inadvertently fill the oration with crass humour and expletives. That will inevitably cast the good name of the Denbows into a pit of deep despair.

Mind you, that would make the speech memorable wouldn’t it?

Ciao For Now




  1. Hi Doc, I’m sure that your speech will go perfectly well. Start writing it now and you’ll have plenty of time to make revisions over the months. I bet it makes you feel old seeing your daughter getting married but its OK as long as you’re maturing like a fine wine mate, all the best, Jay.

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