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Parting is more than sorrowful

PUBLISHED: 10:01 04 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:30 06 July 2010

YOUNG mother Katrina Jones was stabbed to death as she festooned her family home with slogans, posters and balloons to celebrate and advertise her Divorce Party.

YOUNG mother Katrina Jones was stabbed to death as she festooned her family home with slogans, posters and balloons to celebrate and advertise her Divorce Party.

Her ex-husband, who was lodging with a friend next door, has been charged with her murder.

Her two sons, aged 11 and 18, are now grieving for a mother who saw a celebratory knees up and provocative anti-husband posters.as a fitting end to 10-years of marriage.

Everyone has a right to mark the breakdown of a marriage as they see fit and we don't know the details of this relationship.

But Divorce Parties, complete with the tasteless confections of Divorce Cakes, are fast becoming the fashionable way to mark the end of a marriage.

The decree absolute drops on the mat and the bubbly is cracked open, friends invited over to toast your newfound freedom, availability on the dating scene and mock your once-life partner, ridiculing his shortcomings.

I use the genders advisedly here because, sadly, it seems more women than men choose big booze up divorce celebrations to mark getting shot of their husbands for good.

It's all a bit tribal - a female anti-men, or husband, bonding session.

It feels most unsisterly to point it out but often the woman is firmly rooted in the family home celebrating taking her husband to the financial cleaners and relishing making him “pay.”

They seem to believe they have the most to celebrate, probably egged on by their friends to “move on.”

Mrs Jones had reportedly already “moved on” with a new partner. One wonders then why she felt the need to hang banners in the windows of her sitting room and bedroom proclaiming “divorce party' at the home she shared with their 11-year-old son.

But people's different reactions to life's trials and tribulations never cease to shock.

The end of a marriage is never cause for a party, however painful the relationship. Every marriage is built on hope and love and should end in sadness.

Once people would grieve for the end of a marriage and reflect and mourn the loss of a union forged with such optimism that ended, breaking up a family. The death of hopes and dreams amid much pain.

Today they order a novelty cake with a marzipan bride stabbing a bridegroom and make merry with Cava. A most unfitting end to a solemn pledge.

But how many taking their oaths view them as solemn pledges? Marriage is a contract so easy to end and the wedding bit is too often less solemn pledge and more big party.

And how do children feel, witnessing their mothers whooping it up under banners reading: “Divorce Party: Who needs a man when you can have a drink?”

Or watching her - or him, if I'm to be fair- cutting a cake with a bride standing next to a beheaded groom holding his head as her bouquet with rivers of his blood flowing down the cake.

Or a cake split in two with one side a neat happy house, the other a tent pitched on scrubland with a down and out husband slumped outside.

If you google 'divorce cakes' there are plenty to choose from - which caterer wouldn't cash in on a big money idea? - billed as “Awesome cakes to celebrate your divorce” and “15 hilarious divorce cakes.”

Awesome is not quite the right word unless murder victims are your thing. How absolutely 'hilarious' to see a marzipan groom lying in a pool of his own blood, his possessions smashed around him while the victorious bride graces the cake top.

Sidesplitting hilarious to see your ex-husband a laughing stock lying in a pool of his own blood, his possessions smashed around him. Or a bridge dragging a groom by his feet by the words “Take the garbage out” or “Finally….so long, sucker.”

They might be just messages on cakes and moulded sugar but pretty heavy messages nonetheless.

Divorce parties are tasteless, sick and downright provocative.

It's a sad sign of the times that this trend is burgeoning.

Katie Price held a divorce party. Enough said.

I fear Mrs Jones will not be the last tragedy of this unsavoury new trend.

Another child is mauled to death by a dog, the fifth such tragedy.

There is a pattern. Each child has been killed at a home of a family member where a dog is kept.

Police were alerted alleged breeding - according to neighbours of “pitbull-type” dogs - was going on at the address where four-year-old Jon Paul Massey was ripped to shreds.

Lovers of more volatile breeds always jump to the dog's defence in the face of criticism that dogs prone to viciousness should not be kept around children. Every dog is safe if treated properly, they say. That may be so or not. I'm not the expert

But like humans, dogs of whatever breed can be unpredictable.

It is the owner's job to make risk assessments and take necessary action. It's the owners who are the problem.

People who enjoy these vicious looking dogs that hover on the cusp of dangerous dogs list are often the people who see a dog's natural fighting tendencies as an advantage.

Their dog is a symbol of power as they stride along the street with a mean snarling hound on a heavy chain. They have the equivalent of loaded guns on a lead and train them to be vicious.

These people don't want a pet, they want a weapon. And, like keeping loaded guns in the house, weapons are only dangerous in the wrong hands.

The only way forward is for people to be assessed before being allowed to own dogs rather than the current weak and ineffective ban on certain breeds.

Former teacher Chris Tarrant returned to the classroom after 40 years and was shocked by the behaviour and language, especially by the younger children.

He shouldn't be. The bad language in my childhood is no longer taboo and is more common parlance.

Profanities and obscenities are delivered with no embarrassment in front of strangers and people who object are made to feel it is their problem.

Last Sunday I was at Normanston Park during football matches. The language from some players - typically the loudest mouths - was appalling in a public place on a Sunday morning and totally unacceptable.

No wonder our children know no boundaries.

You would think that the clergy would do all they could at this time of year to make as many people feel comfortable in their congregations.

Christmas is the time of inclusivity for the church after all.

So why would a bishop take a swipe at one of the few things that unite the church and the rest of the community - our favourite Christmas carols?

The Bishop of Croydon, the Right Reverend Nick Baines has launched a broadside as some of Britain's beloved carols describing them as 'nonsense' that have turned the birth of Jesus into a fairy story.

And just as we were preparing our lungs for the season to be jolly.

Our beloved carols that we all know are “embarrassing” and 'inaccurate' he says.

His biggest attack is against children's favourite Away in a Manger - big mistake at nativity time when adults fight the lumps in their throats at the sight of small children with tea-towels on their heads- and Once in Royal David's City.

“I always find it a bizarre sight when I see parents and grandparents at a nativity play singing Away in A Manger as if it was actually related to reality.”

“How can any adult sing this without embarrassment?" he asks.

Very few now, Sir, thanks to you spoiling a little bit of our magic.

Now every man has the perfect excuse for selective deafness - it's in the science.

Scientists reckon they've proved that a man really can't hear a baby crying when he sleeps through infant wailing but women's brains are programmed to wake up.

But a male radar is wired to wake up to a car alarm and a buzzing fly.

Funny that. They wake up if their precious car is in peril but can sleep soundly through their baby crying.

All a bit fishy if you ask me - and 'research' bound to have been carried out by men.

Watching a 48-year-old woman sucking her thumb with the posture of a slightly bewildered and self-conscious child is more than a little uncomfortable.

To see that woman in the eye of the world feted as the new big thing with fame and fortune greater than any of us can dream is downright terrifying.

Susan Boyle's album I Dreamed a Dream was this week confirmed as the fastest selling UK debut ever and is on course to top the charts in America, Canada and New Zealand.

Rarely have we been privy to an adult quite so unworldly and apparently alone being catapulted on to the world stage.

If course, we should all be thrilled for her. She was blessed with a beautiful voice and is now able to use it for her fortune.

So why, rather than cheering “good on her”, do I feel like I'm watching a car crash in slow motion. Why do I think: “Has she any idea of what is happening to her?” and fear calamity in the next chapter?

I so hope not.

Simon Cowell, whose record label signed her up, says: “I think Susan is going to help an awful lot of people who didn't have the confidence to do this.”

But who will help Susan and be there when she needs help most?

Leeds JobCentre has probably never seen so much interest.

The city's university is advertising a £31, 000 a year research post to study lapdancing to examine “the place of sexual labour and consumption in the night time economy.” Nice work if you get it.

But a worthy use of public money in a time of recession? Actually, that probably answers Question A. Who becomes lapdancers? Women who need the money in hard-pressed times.

Job done. That'll be £31,000, please.


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