IAN and Aileen, Don and Susan, Chris and Susie, Colin and Barbara - I'm sorry.
You were doubly cursed. First, because I was numbered among your friends when you got married. And secondly, because you tied the knot at a time when The Generation Game was at its zenith.
The Generation Game, for those under 35 or from a luckier planet than our own, was a game show that attracted humungous viewing figures during the 1970s, and again during the 1990s. It involved pairings of dads, daughters, mums and sons, even the occasional gran and grandson, performing silly tasks, such as making balloon animals, shaping pots or taking part in inane comedy sketches, all to win the privilege of sitting down at the end of the show to try to memorise an array of goodies trundling by on a conveyer belt.
Those items were, indeed, a sight to behold; they might have been components of the naffest wedding present list ever. And, back in the day, that conveyor belt was my main source of inspiration for my friends' nuptials. It's why, Ian, Chris and Colin, you were given fondue sets, which no doubt went to charity shops two decades ago; and it's why you, Don, you lucky devil, received what the BBC coyly called a fizzy drinks maker (it was a Sodastream to the rest of the world).
It could have been worse, though; while I was never tempted to buy you an oversized cuddly toy, one of you (I won't say which) nearly got a carriage clock.
It was rumoured at the weekend that the Beeb is considering bringing back the show, with Miranda Hart being lined up as the host. If true, they should probably update some of the games (maybe replace plate spinning with Candy Crush demonstrations). They may well be tempted, too, to bring the contents of the conveyer belt into the 21st century.
If truth be told, many of the old favourites that used to be paraded past the contestants just would not cut it for a generation raised on £10,000 prizes on The Cube or even greater riches on The Million Pound Drop. They would turn up their noses at such treasures as a foot spa or a set of heated rollers.
If the producers do not upgrade, though, I have a nephew, due to get married next year, who should probably be very afraid. If, as is the norm, I am struggling for inspiration the week before - and if Miranda is doing a twirl on the GG set - he and his fiancee might find themselves unwrapping a Stylophone. Or a blender. Or .. hey, does anyone know how much a lava lamp costs?
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