"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Don't be trapped by Dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become."
- Steve Jobs

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Down with the WAGs

This extract from a DAILY MAIL article - how true!


How depressing it is that the World Cup, which is supposed to celebrate football, should instead bring out so much that is ugly about our society. In their way, the antics of England's wives and girlfriends — the so-called WAGs — are every bit as disheartening as the glorification of Wayne Rooney. It is true that the media have done much to advertise this bunch of mostly peroxide-blonde, spray-tanned, silly young women.

Pity Baden-Baden, a delightful German spa town where English travellers used to stay in the 18th and 19th centuries on their way to Italy. This is the base for England's players and their WAGs, who are staying at the Brenner's Park. Last Saturday at around 10.30pm, diners at the hotel's Wintergarten restaurant were treated to a screeching rendition by the WAGs of 'We Are The Champions'.

They then went to Garibaldi, an Italian restaurant and nightclub, and the liveliest 'hotspot' in sleepy Baden-Baden. There, they ordered £270 worth of Moet & Chandon champagne, nine vodka red-bulls and various other drinks, and danced the night away. The total bill came to £450.

Elen Rives was particularly boisterous, climbing on to a bench to perform a riotous, reportedly somewhat uncoordinated dance routine. (This same Elen had launched a foulmouthed rant and had been escorted off her British Airways flight after being told she could not carry six items of hand baggage into the ClubClass cabin on the way to Germany.) At 3am the group subsided into the back of taxis to return to their hotel.

All this was too much even for Victoria Beckham, who remained aloof during dinner in the Wintergarten, and did not join the other girls at the club. Nor has Victoria thrown herself into shopping with as much abandon as the others, who have descended like locusts on Baden-Baden's shops, which have ordered in extra supplies of clothes made by Prada, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Dior and the rest. In a single hour on their latest shopping expedition, six of the WAGs are said to have spent £57,000 on designer clothes and shoes.

The German Press is aghast. One commentator observed that 'English women seem to treat their bodies as something to dismantle. The Germans in contrast want to preserve theirs.' Even the mass circulation, downmarket Bild Zeitung, itself no stranger to bad taste, is poking fun at the behaviour of the WAGs.

Meanwhile, some English commentators are wondering what good the presence of these sybaritic young women in Germany is doing to members of England's team, who are being permitted several trysts by Sven Goran Eriksson. Some of the energy expended during these encounters with WAGs might have been better spent on the pitch, to judge by some of our recent performances.

Not very long ago, English women were held up on the continent as the acme of style and elegance. Now the world looks at the WAGs and sees young women with a lot of money and no style, who behave as though they are enjoying a hen night in Ibiza. It seems not remotely to occur to the WAGs, nor to the Football Association executives who, I suppose, are ultimately responsible for them, what a tawdry spectacle — and what a shaming role model — they present.

We should be celebrating the prowess of the England team, who have at least progressed to the second round, but the World Cup seems only to emphasise everything that is cheap and worthless about our society. Many people, I fear, will have been entranced by the depiction of Wayne Rooney as a blood-soaked warrior-god ready to smite our opponents. Nike and its advertising agency are simply supplying what they think football supporters want.

And, bewildered though the German Press and public may be, the shopping and drinking exploits of our WAGs will probably earn them more admiration than censure in this country. Getting pie-eyed, after all, seems to be the ambition of many English football fans, in Germany and at home. If loutish and inebriated behaviour were the test for winning the World Cup, England would win it every time.

The only bright point is that — so far — English supporters have been relatively well behaved and, by their usual standards, have caused minimal damage. But all we need to confirm our reputation as a peculiarly dysfunctional society is a good old-fashioned outbreak of English football hooliganism.

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