Thursday, May 5, 2011

It’s a Royal Wedding tsunami! (And we’re all in the way)

When I first heard that Wills and Kate were taking the ultimate plunge, I can’t say I reacted any differently to how I would react if I were told that ‘Brangelina’ were splitting and reclaiming their own identities. Who cares? Well, apparently, quite a lot of people.
What I didn’t expect was that the grand event would take place so soon after the engagement, but when you have an entire staff complement attending to your most basic of needs, and you don’t need to fret about the flowers, the dress, the bridesmaids’ dresses, the DJ, the venue, the menu, the minister, the rings, the invitations, the seating arrangements, the wedding favours, (can you tell I’ve got the ‘been there, done that’ wedding T-shirt?) then why not just get it over and done with … and when you’re the hottest Royal couple of the moment, the pressure to deliver is enormous.
And so we stare down the steamroller that is the 29 April Royal Wedding and we ask, again, why all the fuss? If we were guaranteed that the ceremony would play out like the one mobile operator, T-Mobile, put together, then I’d shamelessly admit that I’d be the one with the biggest box of popcorn, sitting a metre away from the television screen, because seeing Prince Charles shimmy down the aisle is a priceless moment in itself, never mind the duo of the hour!
The internet has gone Royal Wedding mad. Even though there is an official Royal Wedding website and a dedicated YouTube Royal Channel, there are still those out there hoping to make a quick buck off the event. BrewDog, a UK brewer, has even concocted a very special ale to commemorate the occasion – drinking just three bottles of Royal Virility Performance, with the tagline ‘Arise Prince Willy’, is equivalent to taking one Viagra pill (I foresee a lot of babies named Kate and William in nine months’ time).
The official YouTube Channel features a wedding book where anyone can upload a personal message or video, and while I suspect that the prince and his new princess will never have enough time in the world to watch hours of rehashed good wishes from strangers, I do like the fact that they’ve opened up their Charitable Gift Fund to the public – at least one sensible thing will come of the obsessive insanity.
In the past month, Yahoo! noted a 1 523% increase in internet searches related to the Royal Wedding, prompting it to set up its own website dedicated to the wedding, featuring everything from news to videos to photo galleries to a guestbook (because we’re all invited, apparently), oh, and an advert by Spur – clever! Because when predictions are that more than two-billion people will be watching the event, compared to just 750-million who watched Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1981 (how the digital world  has changed the real world!), strategic ad placement will get you everywhere.
Us South Africans can’t scoff at the absurdness of it all – we’re just us guilty of rubbernecking. Howzit MSN launched its Royal Wedding special content on 9 April and recorded 500 000 page views in its first week! Compare this to only 200 000 hits for the month for the cricket page that was put up for the World Cup. Tut tut.
If you are one of the few that haven’t been swept up in the Royal Wedding wave, first of all, well done! Second of all, prepare to be force-fed come 29 April, because that’s all that will be on TV, social media, radio and the internet. NewsTime reports, “The BBC will deploy at least 550 staff on the day, using about 100 cameras in Westminster Abbey and along the procession route to provide a live feed to dozens of countries and footage to many more. About 140 broadcast trucks are expected to set up in Green Park near Buckingham Palace and 48 television studios have been purpose-built nearby in what is thought to be [the] largest outside broadcast ever seen.”
Oh dear.
I’m pretty sure there was something else happening on 29 April. Something with a lot more significance than the wedding of the decade…?
Oh yes, that’s right, 29 April is the shuttle Endeavour’s final mission to the International Space Station. I wonder if there are any news crews available to cover it?

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