I hope you are looking forward to the tsunami of industrial effluent which is coming your way in the first quarter of the new year. You will not be able to avoid it, unless you are Helen Keller. One way or another, Wills and Kate are going to get you.
Or, more properly, their agents of misrule are going to get you, the meeja, with their tele-photo lenses and their hacked mobile phone accounts, and their rubber gloves for rummaging through dustbins and their long sharp noses for filth and discord and their deep gullets and unquenchable thirst for vapid, pointless liquid excrement. If you were being charitable you might argue that the principle victims in this deluge of unmitigated bollocks are the happy couple — which is true, of course. But they have legions of courtiers to assuage the worst of it, to reassure them, to hide the papers. You and I are alone. We have nothing to look forward to except for 30 April or the gentle, emollient embrace of the grave, whichever comes quickest. It will be a wonder if, by the end of it, we are not all republicans.
I do not mean the Royal Doulton china plates or the photo spreads in Hello! magazine, or any of the other paraphernalia aimed with cynical precision at thick working-class monarchists. That’s fine; we all need to make a bob or two. I mean the rest, the stuff supposedly imbued with greater resonance, or with cattiness and spite. Here’s a selection from 45 seconds looking through the papers:
• The shrieking, horse-faced congenital idiot Janet Street-Porter has taken Kate Middleton to task for wearing a cheapish (£60) blouse from Whistles and a dress from the high street store Reiss. High-street shops are boring, says Janet. She advises Kate to dress like herself, i.e. in the manner of an eight-year-old with a strange bone disease who has just failed an audition for Rainbow on account of a dodgy CRB check.
• The celebrity hairdresser Nicky Clarke has said that Kate’s hair is ‘unadventurous’. I hadn’t been aware that hair possessed a capacity for adventure. I thought it just sat there, on your head. I suppose I am a poor judge, but I always rather liked Kate’s hairstyle. Nicky, meanwhile, has the carefully teased and dyed blonde locks of a young woman from Basildon who has just been shagged in the doorway of Dolcis. At midnight, after a kebab.
• Kate Middleton is to be trained by ‘coaches’ in how to wave at poor people. She will also receive lessons in ‘beach behaviour’.
• The historian Andrew Roberts is to give Kate a lesson in the history of the House of Windsor. ‘Mainly German and not terribly bright’ should do it, I would have thought.
• One of Kate’s ‘friends’ from school has revealed that she was a bit of a munter when she was younger, not half as sexy as her sister, and had braces on her teeth. But she was a ‘100 mph kind of girl’, despite being hideous.
• One of Kate’s uncles is apparently a fat coke-sniffing slob who lives on the ‘party island’ of Ibiza. And her brother James is milking his new celebrity (although quite how, we are not told). But apparently when he goes to nightclubs and is not recognised becomes ‘quite upset’.
• Kate’s mum and dad run a mail-order company which sells the details of its customer base ‘for money!’ Just like every other mail-order company, in fact.
• The Queen’s dogs will be barred from both the wedding and the reception because Kate finds corgis ‘distressing’. The canine retinue will remain at Buckingham Palace, where they will be entertained by equerries.
• The orchestra at the wedding will be comprised entirely of disabled Austrian musicians. It is not revealed if they are disabled now, or will be rendered so especially for the event.
• The Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts will be advising the happy couple on how to deal with the media. Here’s a tip, Quentin – tell them to do what the singer Lily Allen did and sue the Mail on Sunday for invasion of privacy and inaccurate reporting at every available opportunity. Good for Lily.
• Posh and Becks will be at the wedding. So will Elton. You won’t.
• Kate is on a ‘gruelling weight-loss programme’.
• As if having Quentin Letts as an adviser wasn’t enough, Kate also has to read this sort of fabulous drivel from Quentin’s queer-bashing Daily Mail colleague Jan Moir: ‘Now she (Kate M) is Hermione in Harry Potter, a plucky innocent who has passed through the Chamber of Secrets to the royal Goblet of Fire.’ Imagine the mentality of someone who can write that, look back at it and think: ‘Yep, I’ve nailed the story there. The mot juste.’
That, as I say, is from 45 seconds of trawling through the sewer. Only one of the above was made up – you can choose which. Because it doesn’t matter terribly. To be honest, the trivia doesn’t bother me much, one can ignore it, or laugh; it is the nastiness of much of the coverage that appals and will continue to appal these next few months. The frantic digging of dirt about Kate Middleton’s family, the desperation with which the press will search for anyone who has ever had anything bad to say about her, or her parents, or her uncles, or a friend of her uncle’s. The readiness of us columnists to stick the boot in as if she were not a person at all, but a commodity.
The media, on these occasions, behaves like a deranged dog determined to gnaw off its own back leg. They have this story, but it is not good enough for them; they want more and more, and they want filth, if possible. So much filth that, in the best of all worlds, the wedding is called off — although they would not admit to this if you put it to them.
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated January 1, 2011Tags: New Year, Royal wedding