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A non-downfall (and my part in it)

With the Harlequins now dispersed and probably lying on beaches around the world – and I learned overnight that the club have approached the RFU having apparently decided that Paul Gustard (one of Eddie Jones’ chosen coaches) is their preferred choice of new head coach – there were at least the Premiership semi-finals to watch on television yesterday but, when the subject was broached your author was told (somewhat abruptly I thought) by the Memsaab that we would be watching the Royal Wedding.

Dwelling upon rugby matters for a moment, I had been interested to see how Danny Cipriani fared against the Saracens yesterday in his first outing since being added to England’s touring party to South Africa.

Danny Boy is a Marmite figure in the rugby world and, declaring my interest, I am not a fan. I regard him as a ‘hit or miss’ potential liability to any team he plays for and I noticed this morning that he barely rated a mention in the sports page reports of Wasps’ 33-57 thrashing at Allianz Park.

As it happened, having been strapped into my armchair from 10.30am for the duration, I actually quite enjoyed my Royal Wedding experience.

It was a warm, sunny day; there was a good deal of vaguely British tradition/history nostalgia to be had; the enthusiastic and happy public crowds behaved themselves; of celebrity-spotting and fashion howlers there were plenty on display; and overall – whether one was of a monarchist or republican bent – there was much to be admired and indeed proud of in how it all unfolded, especially since there were apparently 1.9 billion watching around the world and vast regiments of Americans, Canadian and Australians – never mind of nationalities more exotic than those – clearly fascinated by how the Brits do this sort of thing.

One of the notable aspects for me was the gulf between the mindsets of men and women.

Most females I know tended to divide into two camps: those who one might ordinarily have regarded as being ‘above such things’ and then those who are right-on feminist enough to decry all things to do with a traditional view of marriage.

I have in mind here such issues as whether or not the new Duchess of Sussex was going to be ‘given away’ [and for present purposes let us leave aside the on-off attendance dramatics of her reportedly ailing father during the week] by a man; or at the altar she was going to ‘honour and obey’ her new husband; and/or even whether Harry was going to be referred to during the service as ‘man and wife’ – this last apparently, not that I see it this way, a sexist phrase implying that somehow the lady concerned is nothing more than a chattel.

As a bloke, I was quite good at picking out the Royals generally and the sports stars – David Beckham, Serena Williams and rugby stalwarts such as Will Greenwood, James Haskell, Jonny Wilkinson and, of course Mike Tindall who married into ‘The Firm’ anyway – plus a smattering of celebs, e.g. Elton John, James Corden and Idris Elba.

However, not being a follower of reality TV shows and/or those who tend to populate the gossip pages of the tabloids or the celebrity gossip magazines, I had to rely upon the Memsaab for enlightenment as to the identity of many of the VIP guests.

At one point I spotted a refined, delicate lady whom I thought I recognised (a model, actress or perhaps singer?) but could not put a finger on her name until informed that she was Carey Mulligan the actress who is married to one of the band Mumford & Sons.

It goes without saying that one of the recurring joys was seeing those celebrities one is not particularly well disposed towards living up to their type/hype.

Elton John was a complete mess as usual, as if he had slept in his clothes and just got out of bed – which I suppose for him is as likely as not to have been the case.

David Beckham looked a complete berk with his tattoos sprouting up his neck above his traditional wedding attire – never mind that his infamous ranting/swearing about being overlooked for a knighthood has probably delayed any consideration for a minimum five more years, I’d tell him that he won’t get so much as an official cuff-link until he removes every tatt he possesses – and Posh Spice looked as defiantly surly as ever, proving both her total lack of class (and I don’t mean the social kind) plus the fact that money cannot buy you everything.

My last comment is on the ‘right on’ feminists that I referred to earlier.

Yesterday must have been a sobering experience for any that were attending the Wedding or indeed watching it on the television.

Firstly, because – barring any of them whose natural look is a crew cut, a scowl, no make-up, a boiler suit, a pair of Doc Marten boots and smoking a pipe – they’d probably have found themselves as engrossed in all the pomp & circumstance, finery and ‘gawk-ability’ of the powerful and famous as everybody else.

And secondly, in a rather depressing and damning fashion – that is, if they have any intelligence and/or self-awareness at all – they’d have noticed that by and large roughly 90% of all females on view (i.e. those whom they ordinarily do not come across and whose views they routinely dismiss as irrelevant) were up to their necks wallowing in the pageantry, the traditions, the frocks, the hats, the Royals, the celebs and the sheer exuberance of the occasion, as happy as pigs in muck.

How depressing for the ‘right ons’ it must all have been!



About Derek Williams

A recently-retired actuary, the long-suffering Derek has been a Quins fan for the best part of three decades. More Posts