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The Confetti Affair
Posted: 19 July
Some of you may have heard, since we have been shamelessly milking it for every last bit we can get out of it, that Splendid Gentlemen were given a Confetti Award 2016 for Best Evening Entertainer of the Year, in January. Thank you, thank you. We think it’s really cool too.
The name first came to me some time at the end of last year, I sat one day at my computer, as I do, about to embark on the task of tackling the avalanche of emails that had come in overnight, I came across one which said, “You have been nominated for a Confetti Award” and I thought to myself, “What is a Confetti Award?” I did a little digging, read a thing or two an had a perusal at their very nice website and was pleased to find out, actually it was quite a big deal. Evening Times and Glasgow Herald as sponsors. Best of gear. A nomination is a nice little reward. Pleased, was I.
You may have had a look at various other Wedding Band websites and they all say the same shit: “Scotland’s Best Wedding Band!”, or “Scotland’s Most In Demand Wedding Band”, “Scotland’s Busiest Wedding Band!” etc. etc. Some of them are even “Premier Wedding Bands!” Doesn’t that sound fancy? As far as I am aware, there are no official figures on such things, so there’s really no way of knowing. So, after sitting with your beloved husband/wife to be and viewing your 12th band in a row who are “Definitely, definitely, 110%, no fibs, honest to God, cross our hearts and hope to die a horrible death, Scotland’s Best Band.” you start to become a little cynical and think, “We’ll they cant all be the best/bussiest/most in demand wedding band. I hate to say it dearest, but I think at least some of these chaps must be telling some fibs. Good Grief!”
Here at Splendid Gentlemen we like to keep ourselves well on the shores of modesty. While we are quietly confident in our abilities, the fullness of our diary, the lovely, kind and heart warming things our dearest Splendudes and Splendettes say about us after booking us, and the service which we proudly offer to your good selves, we never like to make such brash claims as being “The Best Wedding Band in the Country”. Given that there is no official numbers, we find it rather big headed to be awarding ourselves with such titles and most certainly breaks several of the Gentleman’s Rules by which we govern our decisions.
Without sounding too ‘Thug Life’ here, we never intended to be in a Wedding Band. The Wedding Band chose us. We started out playing our own music and being skint while doing so, until one wise and sunny day we thought, “Here, lads, we’re actually alright at this here music stuff. Maybe we should try make some money at it.” All finding ourselves in agreement that some money would be nice to have at least once in our lives, we set out, learning covers and playing pubs, until such times as people in pubs asked us if we did weddings, to which we thought, why not? So weddings we did. As the demands changed, we adapted ourselves and our service to suit the new requirements and thankfully our little business blossomed.
While we work with agencies, it has always been important to us to be our own Masters and Commanders, so we have never signed any kind of exclusivity agreement with any one agent. As Manager and Ships Captain of this here fine establishment, Splendid Gentlemen, it was always my somewhat big headed belief that were this project to ever take off, it would be by the sweat of our own brows, making our own decisions and not relying on any financial backing of any kind, aside from the modest loan Scott and I’s parents gave us to get our first PA system when we first started out. We just moved forward as and when we could afford to expand.
It took us a long time, in the beginning, to even be able to afford our first video. Up until then we had been relying on home recordings and the free services of a friend for our photos. But it was nice to be at the point where we had enough work to justify making our very first video. Seeing it through to completion and then seeing our bookings more than double in the space of a few months off of the back of it was a much more humbling and rewarding experience than it would have been had we let someone pay for it for us.
And so we moved on, expanding little by little, honing and improving our little band as we went. Eventually we got pretty good at it, we were almost an established and recognised wedding band within the industry and directly with our peers, but still very much felt like an underdog. Now, I am not particularly a competitive kind of fella, but push one or two buttons and there is that over inflated sense of self pride in there to be stirred up, which, while sat drunkenly in a casino one night in 2014, someone inadvertently did. It was a passing comment, not meant in any harm. A comment made in jest about the number of bookings in our diary compared to others involved in the conversation just flat out pissed me off. So there I sat, as the conversation moved on quickly, lingering on the point that was made and I thought to myself, “Know what? We will show you lot exactly what we can do. You’ll see.”
So in 2015, at the expense of my social life, my ever seeing any daylight and adding 2 inches to my waist, I sat at my computer day after day, drawing up plans for the next phase in Splendid Gentlemen’s development. Over the next few months we updated everything we had. We got new songs, new pictures, new videos, a new website…twice if you’ve been keeping up to date with things, new stage banners, drum skins, custom flyers, posters, everything. We finally replaced our original PA system which we had bought from the loan from my parents with Yamaha’s top range portable speaker PA system and got a new mixing desk to match. Sadly also, we had to bid farewell to our original Van, Dudley Deathtrap and updated our wheels to the much newer model, affectionately named Dudley II, after his much loved predecessor. We made sure that no corners were cut and no expenses spared to ensure we had the finest product we could have. The 1920’s, Art Deco themed Splendid Gentlemen which you see today is the end result of this brain child.
In short, we burst our little arses and the reactions were amazing to see. Not just from our lovely Splendudes and Splendettes, but also from our agents and peers.
So there I sat, in December 2015 with an email in front of me thinking, “What the Hell is a Confetti Award?” As it turns out, without prompting, or without us even knowing anything about it, you wonderful, beautiful Splendudes and Splendettes had been voting for us all year round and with a week to closing, we had made it in to the Top 20 in the whole of the country. A little share on Facebook and you dear and wonderful people rocketed us in to the Top 5! I couldn’t believe my looking balls when I saw the email inviting us to the Gala.
We had a booking on the night of the Gala, so it was a no go, but just to be a finalist really was enough. But as the Gala drew nearer the number of emails prompting our attendance led me to suspect it might actually go all the way for us.
We finished our gig in Paisley, I called the Good Lady, told her to look out a nice shirt for me and put on her nicest dress and across the M8 at the speed of sound we rocketed home. Turns out that night was the first pay weekend since Christmas, so I couldn’t get a taxi. I had images of red carpet entrances in my head, but in actual fact, sweaty from my gig, having thrown on a just ironed shirt and rocking up to the fancy pants Crown Plaza in a very dirty Dudley II, with my Aimee at my side I tumbled out of my van and was award accepting ready.
I ran in and we took our seats 10 minutes before they were due to call the Evening Entertainer of the Year category. I had no idea if I was to make an acceptance speech or just take it and bow. Then they called the nominees.
“Here are this years nominees! Contestant 1! (Thunderous applause), Contestant 2! (more thunderous applause) Contestants 3 and 4! (complete with even more thunderous applause) and Splendid Gentlemen!”, at which point Aimee gave it her best shot and her loudest cheer flew across the room, but being the only one in the room doing so, it looked a little odd. Underdogs we were after all.
“And the winner is………”
I sat there thinking, “I'm not nervous. I’ll go up there and get that award. No pressure. I can do this. I’m as cool as a cucumber in the snow, I am. Not nervous at all. I’m cool, calm, collected and….”
“Shit! It’s me. It’s actually me. What am I supposed to do with my face?! I am so f*cking nervous!”
Of the 53 tables in the room, we were at table 53, furthest away from the stage. I tried to weave my way through the tables to get to the stage, frequently having to backtrack as I came to the dead ends you get when 2 fat people sit back to back at different tables and push their chairs all the way out.
“The Winner is Splendid Gentlemen….Are they here tonight?”
“I’m here!” I thought, “I just can’t make my way through this stupid labyrinth you’ve created to thwart my attempt to get to the f*cking stage.”
Eventually I got there, shook some guys hand and said, “I just got here 10 minutes ago. What the Hell do I do? Please tell me I don’t need to make a speech.”
“Just take the award and walk off the stage.” he said before making some joke about me looking like Jesus.
With my hair in my eyes and a really, really bright light in my face, I found the stairs and cleared my hair in just enough time to see a photographer perfectly catch my ‘deer in the headlights’ face. 2016 Winner’s Face…forever embodied in a bad picture. Thanks, pal.
Next we were out and there was a television camera and a microphone in front of me. I may have given possibly thee worst interview ever in the history of interviews. I’m no posh talking lad, but I like to think I speak quite properly, that is until you catch me off guard and throw an award at me in front of 500-600 people.
“How do you feel about winning the award, Dee?”
“I’m just pure buzzing man. Honestly, pure buzzing.” just flew out my mouth while inside my head a little voice said, “What a shite answer! You’ve never sounded more Glaswegian in your life. Try think of something a bit better for the next question eh?”
“Did you expect to win the competition tonight?”
I am the worst interviewee ever! Thankfully Edward Reid, the fella doing the interview was an absolute Gent and covered for my crap answers.
What made the award all the more special was that we were not just being judged on what we sounded like. This was a comprehensive look at our business as a whole: Our presentability, reliability and artistic direction were also under the microscope, so to be rewarded not only for the hard work my bandmates and I had put in to sound the way we sound, but also to be appreciated for the artistic direction I sat night after night painstakingly planning was a beautiful and treasured, personal moment for yours truly.
So there we have it. We can now call ourselves an Award Winning Wedding Band and we have all you wonderful Splendudes and Splendettes to thank for it. We honestly couldn’t have come this far were it not for your good selves and we are endlessly grateful for your patronage and forever humbled by your positive comments about our little Splendid business.
We still agree it’s incredibly big headed to refer to ones self as “The Best” so we shall not be doing that any time soon, but all the same, it is very nice indeed to be officially recognised for our efforts, so for that, we thank you to the ends of the earth and back.