Cutting Edge: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding DVD
Being a maverick ungovernable black Irish bastard Aerial Telly is no stranger to the travelling people and he would like to say a big "Hello" to his many friends and associates in that particular community. Unfortunately, none of them can read so that would be a big fucking waste of time. Yet he sends his best wishes in their general direction anyway and welcomes Channel 4’s documenting of one of society’s strangest events: the gypsy wedding. My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, if you’re asking.
"Aerial Telly would like to say a big "Hello" to his many friends and associates in that particular community. Unfortunately, none of them can read so that would be a big fucking waste of time"
First port of call was Thelma Madine (Jackie Corkhill), the UK’s number one dressmaker for the travelling communities. Thelma was frightened of the gypsies at first ("they don’t tend to give you much personal space" she noted astutely) but she has grown to love them and their money. They are the most moral people she knows, she says. They probably are – she’s from Liverpool.
"Thelma has grown to love gypsies. They are the most moral people she knows, she says. They probably are – she’s from Liverpool. "
Thelma talks about the crazy ostentation of the dresses and how they have weighed as much as 27 stone. That’s like dragging Hannah Jones along the floor throughout the happiest day of your life which is a pretty harrowing thought. The weddings planned here are gaudy, tacky, overblown and tasteless – it’s like a live-action Disney cartoon directed by Robert Crumb (with Victoria Beckham as creative consultant)
We meet Bridget and Paddy. Bridget is a 16 year-old Barbie girl, Paddy an 18-year-old gingernut. Aerial Telly has already discussed at length why certain women date ginger men though it’s safe to say that in the travelling community it’s more a case of necessity being the mother of ginger love.
Because, on the real, they do like to marry among their own, the travelling people and see nothing wrong with hooking up with their cousins. Keeping it in the family is all part of keeping the traditions alive and very much down with this philosophy is Paddy Doherty, 50, a retired bare knuckle fighter. "Call me a gypsy – I can live with that." he says “Call me an Irish cunt – I can live with that. But don’t call me a pikey". Wouldn’t dream of it, chief (not to your face at least).
"The weddings planned here are gaudy, tacky, overblown and tasteless – it’s like a live-action Disney cartoon directed by Robert Crumb (with Victoria Beckham as creative consultant)."
Gypsies are clannish folk. They are hugely proud. Their ways are not our ways. The girls dress and dance like hookers but won’t live with a man before marriage. To say they like to fight would be an understatement, something bride-to-be Sammy Jo has to deal with when, just three days before her big day, the reception venue pull out, having been tipped off its a gypsy wedding. Ah, feck!
Now, that’s very sad for Sammy Jo but real talk here: the venue is well within its rights to pull out. There is generally violence at a gypsy wedding and always violence at a gypsy funeral. They don’t even mean anything by it – it’s like having a singsong to them but let’s be sensible here: you’re always liable to get a rumble at one of their gatherings.
But they are not bad people you know – just quirky. Their commitment to folksy charm, slutty wedding dresses and bare knuckle boxing puts the rest of us to shame1. They truly are better than all of us.2
The verdict on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding: Compelling insight into a crazy mixed world, yes, a doggy dog world.
Marks out of 10: 7.5
1 Puts YOU to shame. Aerial Telly has had more bare knuckle cobblestone dustups than Brad Pitt’s character in Snatch and seen more slutty outfits on his floor than Lady Gaga’s costume designer.
2 Better than YOU, you rank, rootless, lifestyle supplement reading piece of shit.
Imagined: Friday, February 19, 2010