Sunday, April 5, 2009

Saturday mourning

Louis among the mourners
'Nuff said
The glamorous Blue Market
The cortege leaving the estate

Like it or not, Louis is a Bermondsey boy. For now at least. So it was only fitting that he should join the rest of Bermondsey in Saturday's drizzle to pay his respects to its most famous resident. That would, of course, be Jade Goody, or "Jade from Bermondsey" as the pink flowers spelt out on the front of her hearse. 

Spending the past six months in the States meant we - happily - missed much of the media storm that preceded Jade's untimely death from cervical cancer two weeks ago. Jade being Jade, however, the rags-to-riches reality TV star managed to make a front page story in the New York Times, which says it all really about her hold over the press. 

I've never had much time for the media's fixation with Jade, who shot to rollercoaster fame after appearing in Big Brother about eight years ago, finding the vicious circle of criticism and adulation that surrounded her somewhat nauseating. But there's no denying her draw for millions of Brits who felt they could identify with someone the NY Times summed up as a "working-class Paris Hilton". Certainly in Bermondsey last Saturday morning Jade felt a lot less like a vacuous reality star and far more like a real star. 

People turned out in the hundreds to line the streets, flowers in hand, tissues at the ready, to pay their pajama respects - well, it was Bermondsey, and it was only half past eight in the morning - to the local girl who had made it good, well, had made lots of money at least. Being Bermondsey, we were half expecting a mobility vehicle drive by, but made do with four or so hearses stuffed to the gills with wreaths. As well as flowers in the shape of a Marmite jar (because you either loved her or hated her) and a camera to reflect her draw over the paparazzi, other wreaths mocked her ignorance, ensuring that her most infamous malapropism, "East Angular", literally followed her to her grave. 

What Louis made of it all it was hard to tell: either way he can at least say he was there. Although unlike Obama's inauguration, I doubt he'll be buying the memorial badge. 

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