Saturday, October 29, 2016

Simon's Five Rules For Life

So there's this guy - Si Haines - he's my best friend. Or one of my best friends. He was Best Man at my wedding...and he asked me to return the favour at his wedding in August 2016. Of course one of the key roles of the Best Man is the speech at the wedding. When he gave a speech at my wedding in August 2007, it wasn't like other speeches of this ilk. I remember that he just spoke from the heart. It was funny and touching. I took a similar approach at his wedding, and it went something like this.

For those of you that don't know me, my name is James - and I went to school with Si - so we've known each other a long time. Having been his friend for over twenty years, I'm going to share with you what I call Simon's Five Rules For Life.

Rule One: Use Your Voice
Simon has *never* been afraid to use his voice. As a non-drinker, when we went out, I was the designated driver. Simon would most often be in the front seat and with the window down, shout various phrases to the people walking innocently on the high street - the Surrey version of a drive-by.

This rule is also shown in Simon's ability to get on with anyone, in pretty much any situation. A job as a barman was perfect. Jobs in sales are also a good match for his skills. He is one of the few people I know who is comfortable talking with a bunch of people into Heavy metal, through to running a youth club. That takes a natural willingness to be with people.

Rule Two: Live By Your Own Rules
As the youngest child of the family, Si was never one to follow the rules *completely*. He knew what the rules were...and played with it. At school, A-Levels sometimes played second to his entrepreneurial endeavours. I remember his attendance wasn't as consistent as it, perhaps, should have been. Sometimes life is just better eating ice-cream and watching DVDs.

This of course doesn't stop Si from achieving things on his own terms. Leaving behind London, singing in Ska band, managing a convenience store, working in sales roles...these are all experiences that Si has done on his own terms, following his heart.

Rule Three: Keep Moving Forward
Simon's CV makes interesting reading. For those of you that don't know, Si has had over thirty different jobs over the years - yes being barman or working in sales...but also some more obscure roles.

I remember going out with a bunch of friends in our area. As we were moving from one pub to another, Si started talking to a Traffic Warden. The rest of us wondered what he was doing. He answered with 'oh yeah - I know him from work'. It turned out, Si had a stint working in 'revenue protection'.

Having said that, Si's recent promotion is testament to his ability to work hard - and always keep himself moving forward.

Rule Four: Value Your Friends and Family
Normally Si is a non-drinker. This does makes him a cheap date. However, Si has often seemed more comfortable behind the bar rather than in front. There was one pub we used to frequent as Sixth Formers on a Saturday night. Somehow, Si ended up working there. I remember buying a round for about five of us, and being charged £1.20.

Si is, of course a good friend - on an individual level and in a group. He is always ready with a story, an encouraging word and something to make us laugh. This is because he values the people around him: friends and family together.

Rule Five: Always Have An Answer
I have a recording of Ratrace performing. The crowd are going wild as they finish a song. In acknowledgement, and without missing beat, Si says to the audience, "Without you we're nothing. Without us, you're nothing".

With Si, just when you think he's said everything, he comes back with a quip. Always having an answer can be frustrating as hell, but it really illustrates that he's been listening, he's comfortable with his family and friends, he thinks of others...and he knows how to work a room.

So Charlotte - remember these rules - he is a great bloke with his heart in the right place. Si take care of her. I love you, we all love you and we wish you all the best for the future.

I'm posting this a few months after his wedding - after having said I would post it much earlier. Completing this partly from memory may mean I didn't quite say it like this...but it's close!