So, how was it for you? As with the last Royal occasion I remained aloof and uninterested. Until it started of course, and then became glued to it, as if it were the only thing that mattered. I’d had the intention of having my say about it from the outset. About the unfathomable wonder that people took in the river pageant for instance. Perhaps it is just me. I have never found the grey/brown sludge of the Thames particularly inspiring anyway. Not when compared for instance with the majestic Tyne or the proud Mersey. With its flotilla of seemingly random belfry, boats and barges it looked an untidy sodden mess. I couldn’t help thinking it would be at least as interesting – if not more so, to stand on the motorway bridge at Scratchwood services on the M1 and watch the traffic passing underneath for four hours.
And then there were the reactions of the star of the show herself. There must have been some deft editing going on by the TV boys and girls as all the highlights clip compilations seemed to show radiant smile after radiant smile. Well I was watching the coverage quite hard and I didn’t see too many of them. In fact, for a lot of the time she wore a face (if you will pardon the expression) like a slapped arse. On stage after the concert for instance, she looked for all the world like she was standing in the queue for the meat counter at Sainsburys. I thought it unfortunate, too that she did not engage the eyes of the readers in the catherdral, who after all their preparation and rehearsal, at the big moment found themselves rewarded with a view of the top of her hat.
Perhaps she was taking forty winks. In fact, maybe all things being considered, we were all asking a bit much of an eighty six year old, whose husband had just been taken in to hospital.
Then, while collecting the snippets for this piece – sounds grand doesn’t it? – on You Tube, I came across a comment which praised Stevie Wonder’s performance on monday night, but was extremely abusive about the Queen. It made my blood boil (and this is coming from someone who still rates the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen” as one of the best records of the last fifty years) and then I realised. This particularly spiteful peice of online invective didn’t just reflect on our monarch. Yes this Jubillee weekend was about the Queen and the House of Windsor with all their foibles and faults (after all who would we have on our money otherwise? David Cameron? No thanks) but its real stars were the hundreds of thousands packing the Mall for the concert and processions, or lining a wet and dismal Thames, or the millions who arranged street parties or events. The people who came out because they wanted to. And who did so in the most endearingly eccentric way that could be only British, in an atmosphere of joy and inclusivity. Faces painted, silly costumes, home made crowns, union flags everywhere, sleeping out in the park. These are the people who lie in baths of custard for Children In Need or who go to work dressed as clowns for Comic Relief, whose sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters are flown back from Afghanistan, maimed or in boxes.
And may God bless ’em.
Highlights: The concert on monday night, I have to say was spectacular. I can’t stand Tom Jones. Brilliant voice, but his choice of material is lamentable, especially “Delilah”, but surprise surprise, he made a cracking job of it, even managing to make it sound relevant and contemporary. Grace Jones Slave to the rythmn and Madness of course!
The African Childrens’ Choir and this; the stunning Diamond Choir with Will Todd’s “Call of Wisdom” from the St Paul’s service.
© Andy Daly 2012