Dear Reader: On the wrong side of Prince Charles + nostalgia for the EEC!

The Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers with music photographer Gered Mankowitz.

The Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers with music photographer Gered Mankowitz.

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Regular column by the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers

I found myself on the wrong side of a red rope in Harrogate last week.

This minor detail meant I didn’t meet The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to the Royal Hall.

Not that it really mattered much at such a glittering event celebrating the 50 years since Harrogate International Festival was first launched.

Among the famous acts on hand to pay tribute to Yorkshire’s longest running arts festival were Julian Lloyd Webber and Lesley Garrett, the latter impressively serenading the assembled great and good with gusto and no need of a microphone.

I ought to have enjoyed her performance in the hushed hall but, strictly between you and me, it was torture.

I had a dreadful cold and had to resist the irritating tickle of what might have turned into one almighty sneeze for fully 20 minutes until the popular soprano had finished her short selection of songs.

The whole experience was almost as bad as the time I had to sprint from the courtroom as a young reporter to avoid being sick in plain sight of the presiding magistrate.

Had the worst happened all those years ago, I’m fairly sure it would have amounted to contempt of court.

I, like anyone of a certain age, remember the days before Britain joined the EEC, or the ‘Common Market’ as it was known then.

It might be instructive during the current hothouse atmosphere of the debate over the EU referendum to mention that pre-EU people still worked, children did play, the sun shone.

In those days, however, holidays tended to be taken in Scarborough rather than Tuscany, a slice of pizza was something exotic and hardly anyone could tell you what a cappuccino was.

Back then, Europe seemed a less familiar place than now, more advanced, even.

Europe was as much an aspiration as a continent.

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