Warning: if you earn less than £200K a year you might find this blog upsetting, distressing or downright obscene.
I am revolted, sick, beyond queasy to the point of puking – all thanks to the Mail on Sunday. I don’t read papers during the week but on Sundays I love nothing better than lying in bed, vat of coffee at my elbow, flicking through You Magazine (and, yes, having a laugh at Liz Jones’ latest bizarre antics). But yesterday I nearly choked on my croissant over a feature on teenagers having hugely flashy birthday parties. Apparently it’s not uncommon for 16 and 18 year olds to have parties costing a cool £50K. Take birthday girl Jayde Fleming-Smith (seriously) who turned 16 last December with a masquerade themed ball. Money no object – she was given a Corsa VXR Sport (worth £16,995) and a holiday in the Canary Islands with three friends but was the poor little rich girl happy? No siree. Her ice sculpture didn’t turn up and she didn’t like the photographs (glammed up by professional make-up artist, stylist and photographer): ‘I shouted at my parents afterwards,’ she said, as if this were the most reasonable thing in the world. ‘It should have been more about me. You only turn 16 once, after all. I wanted everyone in ‘I love Jayde’ t-shirts but we didn’t have time to produce them.’
Am I missing something here?
· She arrived in Jordan’s ex-wedding coach (OK, dubious taste but scores high on the ‘me’ factor): ‘My boyfriend was waiting inside with a diamond necklace. Everyone was shouting my name, which made me feel famous.’
· She instructed her 250 guests to wear white and silver so she could stand out in her blue frock.
· Male models policed the VIP area (I’m shaking my head in stunned shock at this point – she actually grades her friends into VIP and non-VIP?).
· She stuck up a billboard (with a huge photo of her) outside her school to advertise her bash.
· The invite stated: ‘No present, No entry’ and her friends duly obliged with Tiffany bracelets and Dolce & Gabbana watches. So, no chance of an iTunes voucher if you’re Jayde’s friend then?
Er, could it have been any more about her?
‘I love getting new things,’ trilled Jayde. ‘If I’m not bought something every day I’m not happy. I am very grateful for my party….but my parents will have to try harder next year.’
No doubt her parents smiled indulgently at this foot stamping from their little princess and are already planning to hire a few space shuttles for next year.
As if she weren’t revolting enough there were a further three like her and, by the time I’d finished reading, I felt quite bilious.
So I turned to the main paper, flipped onto the second page and realised that these girls are mere amateurs compared to the monumental greedfest that is Coleen McLoughlin.
£50K? A mere bagatelle – in fact, probably the cost of each party bag for the future Mrs Potato-Head. Her wedding, the paper estimates, will cost a cool £5 million. The figures just fade into meaningness - £250K for Wayne’s stag night; £50K for champagne breakfasts for the guests (see, girls, some serious catching up to do here); £24K for the security team and on and on and on.
Yes, it’s her wedding. Yes, everyone wants the nicest wedding they can have. But am I really being mealy-mouthed when I say that I just find this kind of excess quite utterly revolting? ‘It is excessive,’ says a source (oh, someone’s noticed?), ‘but so is Wayne’s wealth and he wants to share it.’
Yeah right. Poor old Rio Ferdinand, Steve Gerrard and Peter Crouch could do with a bit of wealth redistribution.
On the page opposite, with supreme irony, was a story that put it in sharp relief. ‘Emergency fuel voucher for 200,000 pensioners’ - ‘The vouchers come as households face fresh warnings over the economy,’ says the reporter. Oh yes, that’s right, we’re in a recession. Funny that. Don’t tell Coleen – might spoil the mood.