Thursday, August 13, 2009

Charlie and Leah Wedding

[imagine performed presto]

Alright then...

Charlie told me to be brief and so I will... be (is that an extra word I could have taken out?)

Anyway, so - my experience as a debater, at school, told me the fast track to brevity was in finding a clear definition... a clear definition of... "brief".

After the years that Charlie and I have had arguing over the value, or lack-thereof, in the OED as a source of definition - I decided to go for a more "modern" and "cool", "off-the-cuff" definition.

SOoooo... the best definition of "brief" I could come up with was...

A tweet - less than 140 characters.

OK - so... then the problem arises in actually writing a speech equal to or less than 140 characters, without leaving the audience mystified...

[look to side] am I running out of time yet?

[smile] anyway... so...

The first few attempts were... well - lets say... like most people's tweets... boring as bat shit.

For example:

"Charlie and Leah live in the village. It is a strange and scary place with no parking but it does have a pool and tennis courts." (128 characters)

Then I decided to try drawing on the classics a bit more:
"Charlie and Leah, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a golden carriage." (128 characters)

I then accidentally managed to write a haiku: [choose one]
"charlie, leah wed / future joy for all and more / happiness abounds" (67 characters)
charlie, leah wed / future joy for all and more / fun to watch and see - 73
charlie and leah / facing a great future now / happiness and fun [for all] - 64
honourable man / pretty girl find each other / happiness abounds - 64
charlie, leah wed / noble man and gorgeous girl / happiness abounds

Now - that brings me to the interesting difference, I discovered last night, between the English definition of a syllable and the Japanese definition of an "on"

[look to right] ... I don't have time for that?... oh... ok...

Then I decided to get serious - and personal.

[smiley face pronounced]
Charlie and Leah. I'm so :-) for you on this wonderful day. I'm honored that you asked me to be a part of it. And all I really need to say i

...Bugger - ran out of characters.

So then - finally - I struck upon simply this.

[attags, hashtags and abbreviations pronounced]
I love you @c4. You have been n always will be my friend. @leah u make Charlie happy. 4 that you have my love n gratitude. All my love. Nick

Total Characters? - 140

For those interested in following this microblog please go to @c4leahwedding - or to tweet something on the event tonight you can include the hashtag #c4leahwedding... I'll expect a "follow" from you guys [charlie and leah] over the next couple of days... ok?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Charlie's 30th

Good evening ladies and gentlemen - assembled friends and dignatories

I would like to officially welcome you all here to this - the second, and less formal party, celebrating Prime Minster Charles Forsyth's 60th birthday.

First of all, let me say what a wonderful day it was yesterday. The parade from the spaceport to parliament house was a welcome distraction after that interminable 2-hour flight from LA. And the Sydney weather turned on a perfect welcome for myself and Amelia as we made our way through the streets to Charlie's front door.

For those of you who were still awake for the celebrations at midnight - I think you'll join me in singing the praises of the engineers who pulled off that spectacular space-work display around the new moon. A fitting end to a wonderful and inspiring day of celebration, for the wonderful and inspiring man we all know as Charlie.

I am glad to see many of the same faces that were here, at the [?] yaught club - almost exactly 30 years ago - the last time we were all here together - for Charlie's 30th birthday party - feels like only yesterday - and yet... well, what a DAY it's been.

I am also happy to see many new faces. People who were not even born when last we met in this room to celebrate Charlie's birthday.

Who would have thought, 30 years ago, on that Friday evening in 2006, when I joked casually about Charlie's aspirations to start a political revolution in Australia, that only 5 years would pass before the Advance Australia Fair Party was officially launched - with Charlie as their first, and as yet only, leader.

Who would have even dreamed to predict that the party would not only be able to bring about the slow yet complete demise of right-wing politics in Australia - through the Better Education and Nutrition campaign - but that it would, within the space of only 10 years become the unquestionable first party in Australian politics and a model for fast reform to all moderately liberal political parties around the world.

On the long 2-hour flight from LA, Amelia and I were reminiscing about the last 30 years and marveling at how much things had changed. I remember when the only way down to this yaught club was by land road - and parking was just impossible - and while the extra security surrounding tonight's celebrations are one less positive sign of the way things have changed - I think you'll all agree that the new hover-craft loading bay is a much preferable way to come and go.

As you may or may not have read, in the 5th and most recent biography of Charlie's life - "Meeting Charlie" by entrepreneur and philanthropist Dick Smith - some of the most important and influencial times of Charlie's life were packed into a small number of years, shortly after his 30th birthday - and I can't help but look back feel that there was something in the air that night - telling us all to sit up and pay attention. There was a man that was going to chasnge things. There was man that was going to make a difference... well at least I can say that I DID know you when...

Charlie was a great help during this period in my own rise to fame. It always amazed, me over those years, how he found the time, helping me with scripts and production plans, and then later even, flying out to LA on the weekend, just so he could make sure my next film was all going according to plan.

My wife, Amelia, and I - now happily living in LA - were remembering recently how impossible that would have seemed to us 30 years ago. How much the political climate around the world has shifted, mainly due to Charlie and his parties success. How America, seeing the success of the AAF and Charlie's policies, changed direction, socially an politically, and became a place that we are now happy to call home.

To list all of Charlie's many and various political triumphs over the past 30 years would take so long as be tedious. Suffice to say that having made Australia the proud republic it always deserved to be, he has gone onto...

Recent accusations of Positive Discrimination aside - it cannot be denied that Charlie's all women front bench is a collection of some of the best politicians and policy makers that Australia has to offer. Senator Georgina Hibberd, who is here tonight was one of the founding members of AAF and can attest, I am sure, to Charlie's unwavering ability to surround himself with the best and brightest of the bunch.

... breaking John Howard's previous record by being in power more than 15 years...

In 2018, shortly after Oxford University declared the position of Official Keeper of the Truth, and [?]'d Charlie in it. I was given pause to reflect...

.. King Charles [joke about the same name?] sent his best regards and no hard feelings...

... Father of the year... Nobel Prize winner Cooper Forsyth...

... sang his paises then, but how much more now [something about all the nice thing sI would have said - I "did" say - 30 years ago - but, oh how much more there is to say now - kind of thing... just so it doesn't sound like I'm avoiding being nice about him now]

... won't bore you with details of Charlie's more private life as I'm sure you got all the details you need in the recent lift out special in the Women's Day...

... while I say that we were marveling at the way things have changed - it is also amazing how much we are actually all the same... and I suppose that's where I would like to leave you all tonight - with this thought - that despite all of his achievements over the last 30 years, since we were all here for the same purpose the most important thing...

[Originally written March 2006]