Sunday, 25 January 2009

Have a good laugh, and then feel uncomfortable...

A friend forwarded me a slightly old article from the Daily Mail today:

What Daddy's little girl wants Daddy's little girl gets.
So when Missy Quinn insisted on a big white wedding with her boyfriend, her father said Yes. It didn't matter that she was only 16 and the groom 17.
Daddy also said Yes to a £16,000 wedding dress (which looked suspiciously like a crop top and skirt) and Yes to 150 guests at the reception. Then there were the cars, the hotels, the tiara and the £500 bouquet.
In the end, making Missy's wedding dreams come true cost her father - who lives in a caravan and surfaces driveways for a living - a whopping £100,000.
But as his princess, who hasn't been in a classroom since she was nine and wants to be a glamour model, posed for photographs, her father Simon, 35, declared it was worth every penny. 'I'm very proud of her today,' he said.
Missy was just happy to be the undisputed centre of attention.
Her dress, studded with Swarovski crystals, and with a 10ft wide train, was so heavy that it took ten guests to help her struggle out of the Rolls-Royce Phantom that brought her to the church.
'It was huge. I wanted to outdo everyone else's wedding dress,' she said.
'It was extremely heavy and just standing in the church was really difficult. But despite all that, I felt just like Cinderella.'
The bill was around five times the cost of the average British wedding.
Missy said: 'It cost a fortune, but I've always wanted a big wedding and my dad has been saving for ages to pay for it.' She met Thomas at Alton Towers theme park when she was 13.
They continued to date despite her traveller family leaving their caravan park in Stoke-on-Trent every summer to tour the UK while Thomas lived with his parents in Wolverhampton.
Missy said: 'I just knew he was The One from the beginning. He's perfect.'
Her mother Theresa, 33, who married Missy's father at 16, said: 'I was surprised they wanted to get married so young in this day and age. But we could see they were madly in love.'
The couple married six days after Missy turned 16 at St Mary's Catholic Church in Congleton-Cheshire. After the ceremony-guests in feathers and crystals enjoyed champagne and an all-day buffet at the reception. Girls as young as nine showed off bikini tops, high heels and make-up.
Guest Victoria Docherty, 23, who wore a £700 hotpants and bra outfit, said: 'This isn't unusual - it's just what we do at weddings. It's all very extravagant. Everything is paid for by the bride's daddy.'
Missy and Thomas honeymooned in Turkey before moving into their own £18,000 caravan -a wedding gift from her parents.

Do click on the DM article for the photos...

The tone is surprisingly subtle for the Daily Mail, but the article still manages to push all the 'let's have a go at pikeys' buttons that the average DM reader would need (key words: 'lives in a caravan' 'surfaces driveways', 'traveller family', 'hasn't been in a classroom since...'). The person who sent this to the friend who forwarded it to me even titled the e-mail "Chav wedding of the century".

I object.

These people are not 'chavs' - they work for a living, pay their own way, get and stay married and know who their parents are. They're not asking for benefit handouts, nor are they wallowing on drugs and alcohol in subsidised housing or committing petty crimes. They have an aesthetic to which they aspire which - although it may be the target of self-gratificatory snide remarks by London-dwelling arty-farties - is a matter of their taste, not ours.

Moreover, the parents are supporting their daughter by paying for a lavish wedding. Since when has that been a crime against anything? They come from a culture where this is the kind of thing you spend big money on, rather than over-inflated houses or share portfolios (both of the latter investments are looking slightly less wise now than they were last year, it must be said...). Events like this help to bind traveller communities together. Why have a go at them?

(I should also add the standard Roma disclaimer at this point "They's not Gyppoes, they's Tinkers". But I shall still stick up for them. Someone has to. I was pleased and not a little susrprised to notice that many of those posting comments on the DM site also defended the Quinns.)


scarlet-blue said...

Goodness me!
Actually an £18/- mobile home seems like a good option at the moment... have you room in your garden for me Mr Gyppo?

Gyppo Byard said...

Well, quite. What they're not spending money on is bricks and mortar, of course; though to judge from some of the comments on the DM site many DM readers seem to think that they pay no tax (old prejudices only need a little scratch to bring them gushing forth again...)

Gadjo Dilo said...

...and enormously large-breasted tinkers by the look of it - they must pay tax on those at least! The Roma here can also be very lavish on these occasions - and with great music of course - when they have the dosh. They do also commit petty crime, though that's obviously a generalisation.

Kevin Musgrove said...

You have to bear in mind that Daily Mail readers imagine that anybody who doesn't pay a mortgage doesn't pay tax.

Something that rankled with me for two decades while my tax paid for their mortgage tax relief.

Pearl said...

They paid for it, yes? No one was asking some unwitting taxpayer to cover the champagne fountain?
Easy target for a cheesy newspaper, looks like. Am not familiar with the DM, but it reads like sensationalism.

Gyppo Byard said...

Gadjo - Indeed; weddings among travellers are famously lavish get-togethers. What doesn't get spent on housing gets spent on portable wealth (e.g. gold teeth) and establishing bonds with friends and relatives. And it has to be pointed out that petty theft, while it does exist among Roma and other travelling groups, isn't unique to travellers; while some more serious forms of crime are practically unknown.

Kevin - I share your pain. Let us never forget it was the Daily Mail which ran the headline "Hurrah for the Blackshirts!" Bastards. The DM remains the epitome of the 'householder good, rent-payer or non-house-dweller thieving, good-for-nothing scum" delusion so common in middle England.

Pearl - Yes, they worked, saved and paid. Not sure if there is an exact US equivalent of the DM, but if there was it would be read by the likes of Sarah Palin and James Dobson. It's not quite 'National Inquirer', just self-righteous, tight-arsed, small-minded and viscerally anti-anyonenotwhiteandmiddleclass.

scarlet-blue said...

Is the Daily Express still running stories on Princess Diana?

WV: antlash - a pissed ant.

Gyppo Byard said...

Scarls - it may well be; but there are some things a person with self-respect just won't do; and one of them is read the Daily Express.

Gyppo Byard said...

Urgle. I feel soiled, and disturbed - I just took a peek at my clustermap, whcih carried advertising based on keywords plucked from this blog, and found an ad for 'maternity wedding dresses'. Now that's a Chav concept if ever there was one...

No Good Boyo said...

You sure they didn't steal that daughter and replace her with a fairy child?

Gyppo Byard said...

Boyo - how can one possibly answer that? I suggest you go and conduct a close and in-depth investigation of the bride, while I stand by with a dustpan-and-brush to collect your teeth afterwards so that I can sell them on ebay. Kushti bak!

No Good Boyo said...

After examining the photographic evidence I was inclined to begin just such an investigation, with suitably comic/homicidal results. Your point is well-taken, although Welsh teeth don't go for much on eBay. The Museum of Anthropology, Arkham, might be interested, as might Mssrs Barnum & Bailey.

Surveying the ample resources of both mother and daughter gives me great respect for the Rrom Nnation, and deep regret that they don't share the British craze for misegenation.

Word verification: storlate, a strong Norwegian cup of coffee.

Gyppo Byard said...

"Surveying the ample resources of both mother and daughter gives me great respect for the Rrom Nnation, and deep regret that they don't share the British craze for misegenation."

Two things, Boyo:
1) The men do.
2) They's not Rroms, they's Ttinkers.

And she is miscegenating - she's marrying a bloke from Wolverhampton. If that's not miscegenation bordering on bestiality, I don't know what is.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Maternity wedding dresses! Has the world gone mad? I had to carry a shamingly huge bouquet on the Happiest Day of my Life (1), and I simply can't understand why this tactic is no longer in vogue. My dear grandmother did the same, as did my sister-in-law, who appeared to be heaving a small magnolia tree down the aisle with her. The holy estate will surely fall into disrepute if brides are blatantly smocked.

Gyppo Byard said...

Mrs P - One can only wonder they don't also provide shotgun hire for the bride's male relatives.
Judging from the dates on parts of my family tree, some of my female ancestors must have been on a retainer from the florist....