Oooh, a programme about gypsy weddings….

Oooh, I've been alerted that tonight at 9pm on channel 4 is something called 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' about traveller weddings, complete with 60ft trains, gum-chewing brides and wedding guests wearing ill advised lycra. I shall be tuning in, with a glass of wine in hand, to see what really happens when you splice the 16 year old offspring of two tax-avoiding families at the cost of umpteen thousand pounds….


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37 Responses

  1. Apparently it's a picture of one of the 'gypsy' girls and her bridesmaids. I'm betting it's going to be cracking entertainment because the Guardian are already getting outraged about it. Apparently mocking pikeys makes you a bad person.

  2. I was kidding, V – but you gotta admit that Roxy Mitchell looks just like one of 'em …
    Clearly I am a bad person.

  3. Has the woman to the left dressed so as to out-shine the bride? I think she's managed it.

  4. And that ropey looking one, Sam is it? She is royally rough looking. She's got skin like an antique leather handbag and is the very definition of 'hatchet faced'.
    I too am a bad person because if I'm honest I'm not tuning in to learn about the finer points of traveller tradition…..if it turns out to be more highbrow than I'm expecting I will be very disappointed!

  5. Indeed, and nothing says "celebration of our lifetime commitment' like a bridesmaid who looks as though she's escaped from a New Orleans brothel in the 1870s.

  6. I genuinely love the mad over-the-top nature of traveller weddings, but I do think the Guardian has a point here – it's somehow acceptable to mock travellers in a way it thankfully isn't to mock black or Asian people.
    (Having said that, the only reason I won't be watching it is because it clashes with the return of Masterchef.)

  7. Masterchef – yay! Do you not have Freeview? It should be repeated at a few times over the next week 😉

  8. I suspect it's because black and Asian people haven't garnered a reputation for trashing an area that they move into. They also pay tax. I have a lot of sympathy for genuine Romany gypsies, whose way of life has always been nomadic and transient but very little for the Irish travellers who move onto car parks, trash them, nick from the locals and then kick off that they don't have enough services provided for them, despite the fact that they've chosen to opt out of society and the associated tax burden. A site we're working in Sandbach has been broken into 4 times in just over a month by the pikeys living in a field down the road and it's a royal pain in the arse.

  9. Also, my grandad got swindled out of thousands of pounds by 2 dodgy pikeys who laid him what could laughably be called a 'driveway'. Two days later my brother, my ex and me hired a skip and rolled up the soft red whatever-it-was that had been laid over their pathway to the tune of about £5k.

  10. That's bloody terrible and I'm sorry about all the break-ins. And that is proper shit about your grandad. I'm just uncomfortable about generalisations about one group of people. My family in Dublin had problems with travellers who moved onto the field opposite and made it unusable for kids, but on the other hand my mum worked in a school and the traveller children and their families were lovely and no trouble. Having said that, it bothered her that there was a Traveller Support Service but not, say, anything for the Somalian kids who'd recently moved here. So I can see why people feel travellers are helped over and above other needy groups.
    Basically though, I think we're in agreement that watching a 17-year-old cram her Jordan-inspired mega-dress into a horse-drawn carriage will be AMAZING. Ditto: looking at the terrified face of her tiny husband.

  11. No one's trying to defend that kind of behaviour, but it's worth remembering that without this level of detail it's easy for people to think something else entirely. Not forgetting that racism against gypsies/Roma/Travellers is pretty much the last acceptable form of racism. Maybe we need a new acronym to describe their behaviour (I left my Witty Hat at home, else I'd have a try… But along the lines of "Twats Who…")… rather than using old labels. Channel 4 is going for a perjorative label from the start, because saying "gypsy" is perjorative.

  12. That's why I'm watching it. I don't give a toss if it's My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, My Big Fat Somalian wedding, My Big Fat Middle Class White wedding or whatever, I just want to see a lot of overly tanned girls wearing ridiculous dresses and badly dressed guests behaving badly, no matter what their ethnicity or social demographic!

  13. I'm hoping it will have the edge over Bridezilla, which is just too awful to contemplate… It doesn't achieve the right balance. I'll have to catch the repeat to see.

  14. The thing is that there is a difference between 'gypsies' and 'travellers', something that annoys genuine gypsies no end. I do agree that travellers are one of the last groups that it is ok to abuse and that's not on but there does seem to be a lot trouble often follows them. Perhaps a distinction needs to be made between 'travellers', people who travel peaceably from place to place without making a mess or a disturbance, and 'pikeys', who are like Shameless on wheels.

  15. Oooh, Bridezilla, I've not come across that one, that sounds bad!

  16. Yup – Sam 'I used to have a septum' Mitchell. Looks like a prize fighter in mascara.

  17. I agree, although it would take a lot to use the old label for something new. Particularly since this discussion is about as enlightened as anyone gets on the subject… And particularly since I understand from a friend who knows a lot about Roma culture that – basically – trying to be enlightened as I am – I know sod all. It's tricky. There are apparently a lot of things that get muddied up in labels and misunderstood, and I'm not even slightly above this confusion apparently. I wish I were.

  18. There does seem to be a lot of confusion. I also know bugger all but from what I can gather there are Roma gypsies, other gypsies, Irish travellers, other travellers and pikeys in caravans. I think. Someone needs to do some research in this subject because I think we're all woefully undereducated about the various different nomadic communities on this little island!

  19. Are you counting the ones on the canal boats? 😉

  20. Oooh no, I'd forgotten the ones on canal boats. That's yet another group, travellers on water! I lived on a canal boat for while, with a chef I met on a train. It was not a wise decision, any of it.

  21. I holidayed on a canal boat with my mother-in-law for a week. Nuff said.

  22. Oooh that's brave. Or mad. Not sure which. I'd rather spend a week licking piss off a nettle than on a canal boat with my mother in law. I'm not joking when I say that one of us would end up dead.

  23. I would like a blog entry about the canal boat debacle, please. Every couple I've known* who lived on a canal boat split up, pretty much because of the canal boat.
    * two couples

  24. Very much mad. Very much. I wish I had spent the week licking piss off a nettle.

  25. V, we shall watch it – eventually, thanks to digital recording! Outrage set on stun. Last night we watched Cops Criminals and Cars (or something vaguely similar) and I was horrified when one Traveller accused the police of racial discrimination for taking his van off him because he had no insurance!

  26. I am watching this right now with great excitement! Sophie is less excited 😦

  27. Ho-hum. I suppose one day it will reach here too.

  28. Just had UK friends describe it as moving and that it made them cry!

  29. I may well do that, under the heading 'stupid decisions I have made'.We didn't split up because of the boat so much as because he was an utter twat.

  30. Do you know what, it did! I thought it was just me but clearly not, it was the last girl they followed and it was one of the saddest things I've ever seen, absolutely heartbreaking.

  31. Jesus, and they wonder why certain sections of the traveller community have got a bad reputation…..

  32. I don't understand what was sad about her… She wanted to get married, didn't she?

  33. That's the thing, I dont' think she did. She seemed to be marrying the guy because she thought she was going to end up on the shelf, I've never seen a bride look sadder on her wedding day, she just seemed, well, resigned and scared, like a little girl who had no idea what she was going into but felt she had to. I thought the programme showed a good side to the traveller community, there will always be those who are just watching to laugh at 'the gyppos' but I think the community came across well. What I did notice was that the traveller community has its own prejudices against the wider world, it's not all one way. I'm going to write up what I think properly at lunchtime, after I escape the meeting I'm meant to be in now….

  34. You might be right about the girl. Shame she wasn't strong enough to break out of the culture, I guess.

  35. I was a particular fan of the turquoise and lime bridesmaids dresses and also at the last wedding there was a pregnant lady in a VERY tight, VERY mini black and white concoction. Mr Vicola nearly choked to death, at one point I think vimto may have been coming out of his nose. And I'd forgotten about the incest bit in the hairdressers! Well remembered. I didn't really think they were backward, just young. A 16 year old girl given a massive dress and a huge party in her honour with no real idea of the reality that might be about to follow will always behave like an excited spaniel, it's just the nature of young girls, whatever their background. I don't suppose I'd have been hugely different at that age, although I'd have had a smaller dress and there's no way on god's green earth my mother would have let me marry at 16. Because at that age I was a complete pillock.

  36. I'm not really saying the kids were backward – I think that at that age my wedding would also have been a shambles. But the point was made that the final girl was unusual in actually having finished school at 16… Clearly, the community didn't value education – and instead valued the idea that they could always be self-employed in low skilled work.

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