One Wedding and No Funerals

The Journal (Newcastle, England), November 18, 2008 | Go to article overview

One Wedding and No Funerals


Byline: KEITH HANN

ALL my life I seem to have been out of step with the rest of humanity: a one-man Awkward Squad.

So now, as the economy spirals downwards because of the abject terror paralysing other consumers, I find myself spending money I have not got like there is no tomorrow.

I have become the JP Morgan of the Great Crash of 2008.

For a start, I am chucking money at two houses in the doubtless vain hope of making them saleable, so that my fiancee and I can set up home together. Which would be a more convenient arrangement, on the whole, after we are married.

Then there is the wedding itself to be paid for. (When the groom is almost as old as the bride's father, it seems unfair to land him with the bill).

It is genuinely delightful to see the smiles lighting up the faces of gloomy retailers and service providers as we wander into their lairs. I particularly love the way they ask hopefully: "Is it for a wedding?" so that they can add an automatic 150% mark-up to their quotes.

This has powerfully reminded me how much weddings cheer people up. We clearly need more of them; and one in particular. After all, what lifted the national mood from the intense gloom of the early 1980s but the marriage of Charles and Diana?

Well, that and our triumph in the Falklands War. But with the current overstretch in the armed forces it would surely be imprudent to look for a re-run of that, even if we could find an obliging South American dictator to kick it off.

I hate to disagree with my counterpart in this space yesterday, but there are two snags with his idea of a coronation as a national mood lifter. First, by tradition (and what use is a monarchy if it does not stand up for tradition?) a coronation must be preceded by a funeral, which is hardly a barrel of laughs. …

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