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Sunday 11 September 2011

Gilding The Goldsmiths Lily

The purple prose emanating from certain hacks depends for its impact and credibility on the reader finding the copy fresh and credible. As soon as you know that someone is over inflating a soufflé, then the inevitable happens: everything falls flat in very short order. That applies even to the Royals, especially when they cross over into that part of the world that the proletariat also occupies.

This occurred when Prince Andrew and ex-wife Sarah attended the recent graduation ceremony at Goldsmiths’ College – part of the University of London, although it’s out in New Cross – to see eldest daughter Beatrice get her gong, well, scroll perhaps. The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre had clearly decreed that the event should be talked up.

So we got the full range of photos – nice to see Andy and Sarah turning out together for the day – as well as the level of honours achieved, the course Beatrice took, and even a list of authors she may or may not have read. Then comes the flannel: “after receiving her degree from the University’s Dean in the Great Hall, the princess and her parents joined her 324 fellow graduates for prosecco and canapés in a marquee outside”.

OK. Hold it right there. I’ve been to a graduation event at Goldsmiths’ College, although my use of the Northern Line to London Bridge and a rattler out to New Cross Gate may not have been shared with the Royals. But I can remember the occasion sufficiently well to know that the Mail hack has got one very flat soufflé on her hands.

The ceremony, in the Great Hall, was routine: each graduate queued up at the side of the stage to walk on and get their scroll, to a modest round of applause. It was also dead boring because, at occasions like these, there have to be speeches. And speeches tend to go on. And you have to sit there and listen to them. It’s a non-trivial onslaught of dullness.

After that, almost as a blessed relief, the audience get to assault the buffet out back on the grass. Canapés it is not: sarnies, vol-au-vents, chicken pieces and slices of pie come to mind. All is washed down with a choice of basic but serviceable red or white wine (red for me, always) before heading back to New Cross Gate station for the rattler back to Cannon Street.

Memo to Mail hacks: don’t bullshit your readers. Nowadays they, too, go to graduation events and can spot your weapons grade claptrap a mile off.

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