Where has the glamour gone?

Monaco is a funny old place. For 360 days a year it is a sleepy town, known for its orange residents, glamorous shops, expensive restaurants, hordes of yappy dogs and a general `God`s Waiting Room` feel to it. But for the remaining 5 days of the year the Grand Prix is in town, and I am starting to get the feeling that the residents are getting a bit fed up of it.

Don`t get me all wrong, what I have experienced in the past week has been fantastic. The highlight of my year. I love 'nearly' everything about this place. The weather, the track, the parties, the harbour, the ladies, the boats..... oh and a great race.

The only thing I didn`t like about Monaco this year, and I`m not really sure how to say this.

But Monaco, is losing it a bit. It`s just not as exclusive as it used to be, it`s becoming a bit ........Chavvy.

When I first went to Monaco for the GP over 10 years ago it was a huge privilege to be there. I once even arrived in a helicopter. There was a sponsor party every night, or an invitation to dinner and it was all fairly well behaved. Celebrities mixed with drivers and media and mechanics. The streets were clean and nobody dared make a noise after about 1am. There has always been a bit of japery and outlandish behaviour in Monaco with James Hunt topping the list, but it was all done with an air of sophistication.

As the years have gone by, Monaco has started to attract a different type of follower however. The Monaco weekend now seems to be a good excuse for a club 18-30 style Euro piss up. Every evening the section of track alongside the Harbour Chicane becomes a techno disco, come rave party, come strip club. Very few fans actually see any cars on track as they are either sleeping off a hangover or on their way back to Nice from the night before. The streets that used to be covered in Chiwawa deposits are now covered in Chav vomit.

For the fans the Rascasse Bar, was, and still is, the place to be each evening. The opportunity to socialise and have a few drinks whilst standing on the same piece of circuit, that literally a couple of hours before witnessed cars battling along it, is something novel in motor racing. It`s just not quite so novel when surrounded by drunken sweaty men oggling anything in a miniskirt, singing along to a Euro Disco soundtrack whilst supping a warm beer in a plastic glass that has cost you more than your monthly wages to buy.

Not all of these weekend warriors are vomiting in the street. There is another type of Monaco Chav. The ones that sit on their boats, hugely overweight, surrounded by pretty Russian hookers whilst blasting out RnB at full volume. The `nouveau riche` Chav.

Never has the line `Money doesn`t buy you taste` been so true.

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