OUT IN THE FIELD: Damned if we do, damned if we don’t

No tiara for Mr Draven to wear next week - well, not this year at least
No tiara for Mr Draven to wear next week - well, not this year at least

Sometimes in life you can’t do right for doing wrong. Like choosing carnival royalty for example. In years gone by the carnival queen and princesses (as there were two back in those days) were an integral part of the Eastbourne seafront procession and the world and her wife would enter in a beauty pageant style contest parading around in bikinis before being selected by a panel. Times have moved on and since the carnival returned five years ago, the Herald has led the search for a traditional carnival queen and just the one princess because quite honestly, that’s what carnivals are all about. Or were. We did toy with the idea of a carnival king but after one successful applicant pulled out the night before in a previous year, and then a shortage of male nominations the following year, we scrapped the idea. With time constraints – and the fact such beauty pageants are pure nonsense and embarrassing – a panel judged the entrants and made a decision based on how deserving each applicant is. This year a cat was set among the pigeons and popular Eastbourne character Greg Draven, a larger than life bearded kilt-wearing drummer, threw his hat in the ring and in my opinion quite rightly, and in a jovial light-hearted fashion pointed out that a contest based on looks has no place in 21st Century Eastbourne and it should be open to everyone of all ages and genders. The carnival royalty search was never about judging someone on their looks; it is about giving the title to somebody worthy, who deserves it and, especially for the princess, to put on a pretty dress for the day. This year’s carnival queen and princess are both worthy causes who judges felt deserved a treat. Greg Draven’s input caused some consternation among judges over the last couple of weeks – and yes, I am one of them. What should we do? There is room just for two in the carnival car. Bow to some public pressure and install Mr Draven as a ‘king’ or ‘ambassador’ and upset all the little girls who had sent their photos in? Or stick to the tried and tested and be accused of being sexist and outdated? We would have been damned if we did and damned if we didn’t. So, what we have done this year is choose two young ladies worthy of the role. But the point has been made and next year will be different. Perhaps the idea of a carnival king/queen/princess is archaic so we may well look at an ambassador (or ambassadors) role representing the best Eastbourne has to offer to take pride of place in the procession. Hopefully that will keep people happy although I am more than aware you can’t keep all of the people happy all of the time.

Well done to Eastbourne council’s events team yet again for putting on another brilliant occasion, the Sussex Beer and Cider by the Sea Festival at the Western Lawns. I enjoyed a few scoops on Friday night which stood me in good stead for Eastbourne Rugby Club’s Ladies’ Night on Saturday at the lovely View Hotel, which was quite literally out of this world with a “chat” with astronaut Tim Peake which can be seen on the club’s Facebook page.

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