Embedded report: Waregem Koerse 2010

It’s a pretty schizophrenic day out here in Waregem. So far, we’ve barely seen any horses apart from the ones in the race we happened to see crossing over from the press area into the champagne tent, which is more or less the VIP area for people who don’t make it onto the privately sponsored VIP-lounges that surround the track. This particular tent is located smack dab in the middle of the track, which means you have to wade through a couple dozens yards of trampled grass, sucking mud and of course a lot of fresh horse manure to reach it. But, it is the epicenter of this shockwave of entertainment that ripples through the crowd and leaves behind cheers and tossed betting slips.

Anyway, for some reason there was a beauty pageant going on when we strolled in rocking our freshly acquired press-vests (we’re sorry Dour-festival, but Waregem Koerse takes the cake here; dig our military-issue multipocketed threads, designer gear for the embedded!). However, it wasn’t a standard beauty pageant, more a pick-the-upper-crustiest piece of headgear out a carefully arranged selection of middle-aged woman wearing a variety of nonsensical cranial attributes. While jockeys were risking their lives and horses were wildly galloping by no more than ten yards behind the catwalk, a specially appointed master of the ceremony handed out sponsored prizes and demanded the audience’s vocal appraisal. Yes, there was quite a different form of entertainment taking place inside the champagne tent.

In here (as it is in the upper VIP-lounges), it’s a more a game of seeing and being seen. Extravagant hats, expensive tuxes, riding boots and oysters on an all-you-can-eat basis. It’s a peek of what decadence looks like in the afternoon. So far, we haven’t seen any fancy dresses or tuxedo vests get ruined by sprays of vomit, but you can feel that the ingredients for mayhem are there. You can sense the putridness brewing slowly, stirring the air like a mix of congealing testosterone and collective smugness. So anyway, right now I’m sitting at the judges table, with Waregem’s local karaoke-star/former beauty queen giving a spine-shuddering rendition of ‘I’m So Excited’ about two feet in front of me. All around us, people are doing that handclap thing where you don’t just clap to the snare, but to whatever beat you can discern. Yeah, it’s getting wild out here. Frankly, it makes me wonder whatever happened to looking at horses. We were planning on placing some bets to keep the day interesting, but who needs financial stakes when you can spend your afternoon snazzing free beers off passing plates and looking at rich people in their forties making complete and utter asses out of themselves. So far, no lines of coke spotted but hopes are high. We have to stop writing now, because Miss Menopauze on stage has launched into ‘E Viva Espana’ and our corporal safety is no longer guaranteed.

Requesting extraction to HQ stat – END TRANSMISSION

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