Born to be the Godfather

Marlon Brando in The Godfather

Marlon Brando in The Godfather

First published in What's On Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Eastleigh Chief Reporter

I HAVE to rid myself of all my sleaze and crassness.

What disturbing character flaws will fill this huge void I don’t know but I have to become more wholesome.

I have to strive to be a pillar of the community as I now have responsibilities.

This week I was Godfather at the Christening of Katie Durham, whose parents are dear friends of mine.

For a moment I feared it may be a deliberate kindness on their part like in the Hugh Grant film About a Boy, where his pals offer him the role to save him from a life of meaningless one night stands.

Then I reassured myself I was nowhere near that successful with women.

I considered which of the Godfathers I should emulate – Brando, De Niro or Pacino.

I liked the husky voice of Brando although my impression would make even an innocent chat sound like an obscene phone call.

The honour is one I take seriously and I am readying myself for the Satan fighting that I understand is sometimes involved.

I was worried about the ceremony, though, as I wasn’t entirely sure what I had to do and say.

Having been to a Catholic school, people often imagine I know more about religion and theology than I do.

I dreaded hearing the vicar say the words: “And the Godparents will now quote from memory a long and confusing passage of scripture.”

Even worse was the fear that a church helper clutching one of my more controversial columns would come running in and demand the service be stopped and I be horsewhipped.

After each Christening the vicar, who seemed somewhat of a renegade, held the baby aloft to the crowd like the mad monkey in The Lion King.

I expected him to say: “I welcome you Simba...I mean Katie.”

He later awkwardly mentioned that the church welcomed donations.

Sadly it did not occur to me at the time that this would have been the ideal moment to try a Pacino-esque: "First you da money, den you get da power, den you get da wimin."

True the quote didn't come from the famous trilogy but if I had supplemented it with a light cheek slap that us Godfather types favour I feel sure he would have got the reference.

I may be biased but we definitely had the best baby there.

Hardly a sniffle when her head was wetted, just a look of suspicion.

Many of the other little ones did not share Katie’s cool reserve and were bawling at the top of their tiny lungs.

As I passed the Godparents of these squealing beasts on the way out, I was glad to see they failed to make eye contact.

Too ashamed I imagine.

Not wanting to make a scene inside the church, I resisted the urge to say to these strangers: “Mate, your baby needs to man up.”

Comments (8)

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2:10pm Tue 24 May 11

lowe esteem says...

Or 'Why people do not buy newspapers'
Patronising and puerile pap containing a glimmer of a very weary 'joke' and the odd 'hip' expression for good measure.
Why are no comments allowed on the RYAN GIGGS article? That's R-Y-A-N-G-I-G-G-S RYAN GIGGS.
Or 'Why people do not buy newspapers' Patronising and puerile pap containing a glimmer of a very weary 'joke' and the odd 'hip' expression for good measure. Why are no comments allowed on the RYAN GIGGS article? That's R-Y-A-N-G-I-G-G-S RYAN GIGGS. lowe esteem
  • Score: 0

11:07am Tue 31 May 11

MrHarsh says...

Congratulations on your new found position of responsibility in a young person’s life. Not being familiar with the work of Hugh Grant, I wouldn’t like to speculate on your goddaughter’s parents’ motivation for their appointment, but in my personal experience being asked to be a godfather is the consolation prize for having missed out on the best man gig at the wedding. To be honest, I am always a bit ambivalent about christenings; like Simon I had a religious education (RC the went to a CofE grammar school). I subsequently lost/never acquired a faith. Mrs. Harsh and I didn’t have our child christened as it seemed to be a little hypocritical as she shares my thoughts on matters divine. However, if you are asked by someone, it is best to take the gesture in the spirit intended, smile and say “Thank you”. Up until now, it has meant no more than an extra couple of quid in a birthday card.
The Harshometer is glowing, so let’s see the reading… Oh dear, no laughs, no liaisons only 2 Harshs.

Haven’t seen today’s effort yet (I tried hiding under the bed, but Mrs. Harsh found me as usual and made me go to work), but perusing yesterday’s paper, I noticed a two page “splash” about the Miss Southampton contest. This provoked two thoughts – Are we still interested in this sort of out-moded, degrading spectacle in 2011? And is Simon going to use it as the basis for this week’s comment (for it was he who “covered” the glittering event). Amusingly, I noticed that one of the contestants, wore a sash advertising a Butcher! Don’t let yourself down, Simon.
Congratulations on your new found position of responsibility in a young person’s life. Not being familiar with the work of Hugh Grant, I wouldn’t like to speculate on your goddaughter’s parents’ motivation for their appointment, but in my personal experience being asked to be a godfather is the consolation prize for having missed out on the best man gig at the wedding. To be honest, I am always a bit ambivalent about christenings; like Simon I had a religious education (RC the went to a CofE grammar school). I subsequently lost/never acquired a faith. Mrs. Harsh and I didn’t have our child christened as it seemed to be a little hypocritical as she shares my thoughts on matters divine. However, if you are asked by someone, it is best to take the gesture in the spirit intended, smile and say “Thank you”. Up until now, it has meant no more than an extra couple of quid in a birthday card. The Harshometer is glowing, so let’s see the reading… Oh dear, no laughs, no liaisons only 2 Harshs. Haven’t seen today’s effort yet (I tried hiding under the bed, but Mrs. Harsh found me as usual and made me go to work), but perusing yesterday’s paper, I noticed a two page “splash” about the Miss Southampton contest. This provoked two thoughts – Are we still interested in this sort of out-moded, degrading spectacle in 2011? And is Simon going to use it as the basis for this week’s comment (for it was he who “covered” the glittering event). Amusingly, I noticed that one of the contestants, wore a sash advertising a Butcher! Don’t let yourself down, Simon. MrHarsh
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Tue 31 May 11

BurningRAGE says...

Oh dear God, and I do mean Slash!
how on earth are you still publishing?
Point, plot, significance of piece?

If i wanted to know what Simon did at weekend i would add him on facebook!

Pure dribble!
Oh dear God, and I do mean Slash! how on earth are you still publishing? Point, plot, significance of piece? If i wanted to know what Simon did at weekend i would add him on facebook! Pure dribble! BurningRAGE
  • Score: 0

2:38pm Tue 31 May 11

MSK says...

BurningRAGE wrote:
Oh dear God, and I do mean Slash! how on earth are you still publishing? Point, plot, significance of piece? If i wanted to know what Simon did at weekend i would add him on facebook! Pure dribble!
Agree, you've stolen 5 minutes of my life - I feel robbed this week!
[quote][p][bold]BurningRAGE[/bold] wrote: Oh dear God, and I do mean Slash! how on earth are you still publishing? Point, plot, significance of piece? If i wanted to know what Simon did at weekend i would add him on facebook! Pure dribble![/p][/quote]Agree, you've stolen 5 minutes of my life - I feel robbed this week! MSK
  • Score: 0

5:52pm Tue 31 May 11

Scrutinizer says...

lowe esteem wrote:
Or 'Why people do not buy newspapers' Patronising and puerile pap containing a glimmer of a very weary 'joke' and the odd 'hip' expression for good measure. Why are no comments allowed on the RYAN GIGGS article? That's R-Y-A-N-G-I-G-G-S RYAN GIGGS.
"Some" people on here have no sense of humour, do they?! Nice one Simon!
[quote][p][bold]lowe esteem[/bold] wrote: Or 'Why people do not buy newspapers' Patronising and puerile pap containing a glimmer of a very weary 'joke' and the odd 'hip' expression for good measure. Why are no comments allowed on the RYAN GIGGS article? That's R-Y-A-N-G-I-G-G-S RYAN GIGGS.[/p][/quote]"Some" people on here have no sense of humour, do they?! Nice one Simon! Scrutinizer
  • Score: 0

6:09am Wed 1 Jun 11

Scrutinizer says...

Also, that still-shot from The Godfather film reminds me of a famous t.v. interview with the late Orson Welles, conducted many years ago and which was recently repeated on BBC4. In it Welles was asked if he had any regrets and he replied that not having played the Godfather role was one of the biggest of his professional life. Actually, I think he is one of the few at the time who could have matched Brando scene for scene, but if Francis Ford Coppola thought Brando was hard work, Welles would have made his life worse than hellish, especially when no doubt he'd insist upon re-writing half the script!
Also, that still-shot from The Godfather film reminds me of a famous t.v. interview with the late Orson Welles, conducted many years ago and which was recently repeated on BBC4. In it Welles was asked if he had any regrets and he replied that not having played the Godfather role was one of the biggest of his professional life. Actually, I think he is one of the few at the time who could have matched Brando scene for scene, but if Francis Ford Coppola thought Brando was hard work, Welles would have made his life worse than hellish, especially when no doubt he'd insist upon re-writing half the script! Scrutinizer
  • Score: 0

3:57pm Wed 8 Jun 11

MrHarsh says...

For some reason, Simon’s recent articles haven’t made it to the website, although they have been in the print version. One was a thought provoking study of the nature of privacy and the law. Well, actually it was Simon’s thoughts on the Ryan Giggs story. He seems to have missed the point that it was Ryan Giggs’s use of the law to prevent commercially damaging (to his lucrative “image rights”) details of his private life emerging, rather than a purely prurient interest in his nocturnal activities that merited comment. He seemed more worried that celebrities were using up the “attentions” of a certain kind of young woman that he could otherwise avail himself of. I suppose there is some humour in that, in a self-deluded kind of way, so it’s worth 1 Harsh.
His second effort may have been a response to my earlier “Harsh words” about his attendance at the Miss Southampton Contest. Perhaps I flatter myself. Again, his normally quicksilver mind slips a gear or two. Any criticism I (or indeed any other modern-thinking person) may have of the contest is against its very existence rather than the competitors, a cerebral bunch apparently; “top graduates” no less. Of course, it is possible to successfully negotiate a degree course whilst having little or no real social or political awareness. Simon himself is a high-flying polyversity graduate and yet espouses, shall we say, some non-progressive attitudes. Maybe I was wrong; maybe it isn’t a “meat market”. I checked out the website – the contest was held in a nightclub in Southampton – I’m not sure whether this was the “sophisticated” lap-dancing establishment he visited sometime ago is not clear. The original field of contestants was narrowed down by a public vote based on a selection of photographs on the Miss England website – no words, no glittering CV bursting with achievements; just a photo. Presumably so that the fat, balding middle aged public he imagines can pick which one they like! I particularly liked the way he un-patronisingly described them as a “bevy of beauties”. Back into the milliHarshes for this one, I’m afraid.
For some reason, Simon’s recent articles haven’t made it to the website, although they have been in the print version. One was a thought provoking study of the nature of privacy and the law. Well, actually it was Simon’s thoughts on the Ryan Giggs story. He seems to have missed the point that it was Ryan Giggs’s use of the law to prevent commercially damaging (to his lucrative “image rights”) details of his private life emerging, rather than a purely prurient interest in his nocturnal activities that merited comment. He seemed more worried that celebrities were using up the “attentions” of a certain kind of young woman that he could otherwise avail himself of. I suppose there is some humour in that, in a self-deluded kind of way, so it’s worth 1 Harsh. His second effort may have been a response to my earlier “Harsh words” about his attendance at the Miss Southampton Contest. Perhaps I flatter myself. Again, his normally quicksilver mind slips a gear or two. Any criticism I (or indeed any other modern-thinking person) may have of the contest is against its very existence rather than the competitors, a cerebral bunch apparently; “top graduates” no less. Of course, it is possible to successfully negotiate a degree course whilst having little or no real social or political awareness. Simon himself is a high-flying polyversity graduate and yet espouses, shall we say, some non-progressive attitudes. Maybe I was wrong; maybe it isn’t a “meat market”. I checked out the website – the contest was held in a nightclub in Southampton – I’m not sure whether this was the “sophisticated” lap-dancing establishment he visited sometime ago is not clear. The original field of contestants was narrowed down by a public vote based on a selection of photographs on the Miss England website – no words, no glittering CV bursting with achievements; just a photo. Presumably so that the fat, balding middle aged public he imagines can pick which one they like! I particularly liked the way he un-patronisingly described them as a “bevy of beauties”. Back into the milliHarshes for this one, I’m afraid. MrHarsh
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Fri 17 Jun 11

MrHarsh says...

Simon seems to have been demoted to print-only - perhaps he was generating too much abuse here? I hope not. The last couple of efforts have been of a rather poor quality.
Simon seems to have been demoted to print-only - perhaps he was generating too much abuse here? I hope not. The last couple of efforts have been of a rather poor quality. MrHarsh
  • Score: 0

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