Saturday, 30 April 2011

Escaping the Royal Wedding

This week, I travelled to Finland in a bid to escape the Royal Wedding fever that has gripped the UK.

Admittedly, my real motives for the trip have been professional, but the chance to escape was a welcome by-product. I was even prepared to exchange two Bank Holidays in the UK for two working days in Finland just to get away from it all!

Let me make it clear: I am not an anti-royalist, nor indeed a pro-royalist, I am simply not interested in the monarchy at all. I suspect I feel the same way about the event as people who are not into football (soccer) feel about the World Cup: “Fine, let the aficionados enjoy it, but stop ramming it down my throat!”

And in the UK, there really has been no escape from “Bill’s and Kate’s Big Day” for months now. There have been trashy souvenirs in shops, as well as endless articles in the press and programmes on radio and TV – each more trivial than the other.

On my way to Heathrow airport on Wednesday, I heard a radio DJ mocking a TV programme broadcast the night before called “Meet the Middletons” (no, really!) in which distant relatives of the bride were interviewed. According to the DJ, one of the “interesting facts” dug up by the programme makers was that Kate’s mother, when she was a baby, had the same model of pram as Prince Charles had when he was a baby! Yaaaaaaawn!

Anyhow, I was in Finland during the actual event. So was I able to escape the madness? Well, not quite.

Finnish news: Bill 'n' Kate's Big Day 
I should have a known that really. A few months ago, Finns went crazy about some Swedish Royal Wedding. [It seems bizarre that republican Finland should get that excited about the royal family of their arch-rival, but then paradoxically people who live in republics seem to love royal stuff – take the USA or France as examples.]

So predictably, Finns did show some interest in the British wedding. Maybe they weren’t quite as crazy about it as they had been about the Swedish one, but still, there was no complete escape.

The event was shown live on giant screens in the office cafeteria at lunchtime. There was a meeting room in the office set aside for the event (cunningly it was located next to the CEO’s office, so it remained empty – so I am told). Colleagues were checking on the web periodically for updates, and indeed one person I know, who until then had pretended to be mostly disinterested, emailed me excitedly to inform me that they were watching the event live on their laptop (yes, you know who you are!).

Despite this, for the most part, I was able hide behind in my laptop and pretend it wasn’t happening.

At least it’s over now. Until the next one.

And yes, I do appreciate the irony of devoting so many words to a subject that I have been doing my utmost of escape...

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