Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Red Carpet Treatment

As we can see with those attending this week's G20 summit, whenever Heads of State or other important dignitaries pay a visit, people always roll out lengths of red carpet for them, hence the term "the red carpet treatment". The idea is that VIPs can cross from point A to point B without having to soil their shoes on the pavement or risk stepping in a turd. Furthermore, if they're pissed at the time, it probably makes it easier for them to walk in a straight line.

But red carpets, it seems, are regarded as very personal things, like toothbrushes, hair combs, and vibrators. That's to say, if you have one, you're normally loath to share it with anyone else. I know this because I once stepped on President Mitterand's outside the Ritz (his red carpet, not his vibrator), and was immediately chased away by a large man in sunglasses.

The concept of an individual red carpet seems to me to be a tremendous waste of material, however, especially if the dignitary in question can't park his car properly. He might end up at an angle, for example, five feet or more from the kerb. Maybe standard issue red carpet comes supplied with an extra ten feet or so to allow for this kind of thing. Whatever, there ought to be a more efficient solution.

An obvious one, of course, is simply to glue a couple of red carpet tiles to the dignitaries' shoes for the duration of the event. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to this. Because red carpet tiles are readily available in any DIY store, anyone could glue them to his feet and pretend to be someone exalted. Then, before you knew it, you'd have complete nobodies walking into, say, new art galleries or supermarkets and declaring them open. Or worse, a red carpet tile-equipped nobody could travel to Moscow and conclude a nuclear disarmament treaty with Vladimir Putin, thus leaving the UK effectively defenceless in the face of a renascent, increasingly bellicose Russia.

In my opinion, top hotels, theatres, ministries, and so on, ought to supply individual stiffened loops of red carpet, about 16 feet or so in circumference. Then, on State occasions, doormen could wheel them out to the dignitaries' cars and invite them to step inside and start walking. Thus the VIPs could go any distance they desired, confident that there would always be red carpet beneath their feet. Navigation might be a problem, as the VIPs wouldn't be able to see where they were going. However, it could be overcome by the doormen giving directions: "Left a bit, Your Majesty. Mind the lamp post. That's it. Over the kerb, now. Watch out for the dog turd on your far left." And so on.

Or the VIPs' security personnel could steer them instead. The only really serious dangers would come if you had several hundred dignitaries arriving somewhere simultaneously for a state function. Then it would probably become necessary to establish some sort of traffic control system, where you'd give kings' and queens' red carpet loops right of way over those of prime ministers and foreign secretaries.

On the other hand, it could cause a bit of trouble. For instance, a king might assume he had automatic right of way over a president. For his part, the president might think that, seeing as he's an elected representative of the people rather than being a mere hereditary head of state, his loop of red carpet should be given precedence. Another European war could result, infinitely more terrible than the First and Second.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't get me started.Back in '99 I did the Oxford May Ball.At 3am its fucking freezing by the perimeter fence.Me and a mush from somewhere.Car pulls up.Back gate.Girl gets out.Clipboard,skinny."Its Boy George.He wants you to open up".The gate I'm praying she means the fucking gate. We look at each other.The other guy looks at me.Telepathic door host shit."He is a hasbeen.Sub A list" Sorry love.I'd like to help but...