Hello, I’m MAD, Martin Alexander-Drake. I’d like to reiterate that I’m not bouncing-off-the-walls crazy, but I am very passionate about relationships, marriage and great storytelling :)
I’ve not always had a fancy double-barrelled surname. When Caroline and I got married, we decided to combine our surnames. We both felt strongly about maintaining our individual identities, but we also wanted to created a new one — team Alexander-Drake :) Together, we pursue a positive and happy life; I guess we are both Humanists but the label isn’t really necessary.
We live in Bristol in a small Victorian terrace house with puppy Yosemite (Yosey for short). She’s named after the American National Park in California, where we honeymooned last year. She’s our first dog and has proven quite the handful! But now she’s calmed down a little, daily walks in the park and woods are our favourite part of the day. Quality time together to discuss life’s big questions like — is our universe real? do we have free will? has the Walking Dead TV series gone downhill?
We have lots of shared passions and interests including: Harry Potter, yellow and teal, photography, art, illustration, Pixar, and, most notably, the underrated pop sensation Hanson. But we don’t always see eye-to-eye on music. Whilst Caroline enjoys the deep, growling American tones of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, I prefer the technicolour melodies of Coldplay and the northern accents of 90’s Britpop.
My favourite film of all time is Pixar’s ‘UP’. I feel that this is maybe one of the most important things about me that you should know.
‘Adventure is out there’.
I’ve always been a creative person. While many of my school friends went to the most prestigious universities, I went to Nottingham Trent to ‘colour-in’, or at least design some cool stuff. My creative pursuits started with drawing and painting, moved on to design, and have meandered around many other disciplines since. Including — architecture, music and the guitar, film-making and scriptwriting. But most notably, I’ve always been a photographer. Even in the earliest photographs of me, I always have a camera around my neck (or a lightsaber in my hand). In more recent years, I have grown to love writing. This is puzzling, given that I took the creative subjects at school to avoid writing in the first place (it made my hand hurt).
I’ve also been lucky enough to combine my passions with my work life. For 10 years, I’ve been the creative director of a CGI and animation studio specialising in the depiction of Architecture. I love the variety of the role: leading a small team, liaising with clients, storyboarding, creating animations, making apps and websites — telling stories. And I’ve found that the best stories are authentic, heartfelt and true.
This is where all my creative endeavours, in both work and play, converge. Storytelling. It is the lens that helps us make sense of our lives and relationships — in the past, the present, and on the road ahead.
So, how did I become a celebrant? Let me tell you the story...
I met my wife Caroline at a photography meetup in Clifton, Bristol. Caroline is a wedding photographer and rather good one at that. Before we were a couple, she told me that she wanted to have a Humanist wedding in the woods. I didn’t know what that meant, let alone that it would be me who she would marry!
But in August 2016 — at a secluded campsite, in an idyllic corner of Wiltshire — we became husband and wife. To a backdrop of trees and rolling hills, multi-coloured pom-poms and lanterns, we celebrated our own story and values of marriage. Our ceremony was loving crafted with the awesome Humanist celebrant, Maxine Beech, and conducted by our best friend Graham. We were surrounded by our closest friends and family — it was the flippin’ most amazing day.
It was whilst putting together our own Humanist wedding, that it occurred to us how well suited I would be to the role of a celebrant. I was really excited by the prospect of taking the skills from my day job, and all my creative endeavours over the years, and weaving them into something new.
Being a celebrant gives me the amazing opportunity to connect with couples on a deeper level than I ever would previous day job clients. Working with couples, helping them create something truly magical and meaningful — it’s beyond words!
So, there we are. That’s the end of the story for now. But I really hope that it’s just the beginning and you’ll drop me a line. After all, adventure is out there...
Big Love MAD X :)