2 years ago
A colonial acquaintance asked me my thoughts on this week’s Royal Wedding and this sort of came out:
Although I am no monarchist, I've never been too bothered to go out of my way to exhibit my opposition.
Some will feel the need to demonstrate their ire by phoning up the media and putting on a display of having a picnic miles away from anywhere without TV or Radio, to ensure that their protest is duly noted. It’s the modern way you see, and no doubt there’s even an appropriate Facebook page available to register one’s disdain on.
Having said that, I've yet to come across too much of such posturing, as the dissenters are choosing to just get on with their lives instead. And actually, now we're no longer tied to old media, it's so much easier to live in parallel without the big day having obstructed normal life.
On the day of Diana's death, the British media came to a complete standstill as all their resources were re-routed to re-cycle the same old story ad nauseam throughout the day. The BBC received so many complaints that day that they had to revert back to normal programming to stem the tirade. I went to see The Full Monty instead, it was very good.
Back in 1981, at the Charles/Diana bout, there were a plethora of "fuck the Royal Wedding" gigs on the big day. In fact, it was at one of these that I met a future partner-to-be (but don't get me started on HER!). I'm sure that this time there will be a host of similar events, musical and otherwise, although (like with the Facebook thing) I am now probably too old to know where.
Basically, there are as many antagonists as there are enthusiasts, but the wadge in the middle who don't mind either way will have watched it along with everyone else, the way they watch the world cup final, or Wimbledon in a disinterested way, yet are reluctant to miss out on the goodwill generated. It therefore appears that the numbers were generally in favour; it was a party after all.
What will have actually happened is the nation will be united because "it’s what we do best". We can't produce a world beating football team or Wimbledon champion, or retain a car industry, or function in one inch of snow, but we can do pomp and ceremony. It was run like clockwork. It was spectacular. It will have cost a fortune, but no-one knows how much yet, and couldn't care less anyway because no-one fully understands just how big the recession is.
It's a feel-good event. We'll never get a welcoming parade for the end of the war in Afghanistan because that war will never end. The England team will never parade the streets of the capital in an open-topped bus with the world cup. But we have our Royals and they’ll do nicely.
And it has to be said, they couldn't have found a better bride either. My God she's a belter!
I'm amused at how the press are doing their best to portray her as the commonest of commoners, descended from no more than lowly miners no less. But this is conveniently ignoring the fact that she is the daughter of multi-millionaire business owners and her father is from staunch Banker/Lawyer stock, going back generations. I suspect that there was a time too when Kate's mother was also well fit, and traded those looks on the market for a prize worthy of her own mercantile ambitions. Hence a dynasty is born, and now they have aspired to the very top. They have millions in the bank today and a king for a grandson tomorrow. Surely that has to be the icing on their cake.
Anyway, going back to "what we do best".
Did you know that Diana got the Queen Mother's funeral? The Queen Mother (literally, the mother of the present queen, who had been Queen previously, married to the same king from The Kings Speech) lived a VERY LONG TIME. There was a funeral arranged and budgeted-for, awaiting her demise. But when the "Princess Whore" pegged it in that Parisian tunnel with her swarthy paramour, the powers-that-be activated the already well rehearsed old-dear's ceremony and commandeered it for the people’s slapper.
The world sat in wonder as Britain put on a flawless display, inch-perfect and to the second, at such short notice. My next door neighbour, an Italian, was in awe. And when I bemoaned the event he objected.
"That was incredible" he argued. "To achieve such perfection! In Italy we couldn't do that; you wouldn't be able to find the guy!"
(The ‘guy’ being whoever it was responsible for organising things, would have disappeared elsewhere in a dereliction of his duty, and be up to no good. Not unlike George Bush with Hurricane Katrina.)
And so it was this week. William standing there grinning, with his pasty face and the male-pattern baldness inherited from his father (unlike his brother who boasts the thick ginger locks owing to HIS patronage). Kate was looking radiant, and did her bit to sell tabloids, gossip sheets and TV specials all around the world. And every one’s a winner (except Charlie Sheen perhaps).
Except as well, for the British tax payer too. It will be claimed that the income from this, in fees and tourism alone, will more than pay for it, although no-one will ever show any statistics to prove this. And no-one will ever ask to see them either.
And that's how it all works. As the event escalates, the public get drawn in, and once the mass develops its collective consciousness, dissent is shouted down. Why would ANYONE want to spoil the fun? Why are there people who always have to piss on our chips? BOO TO THEM!
It never makes any sense, but it always happens, and I think it's to do with our inability to do anything else. Royal events of this magnitude are the only thing that won't let us down. We're in our element; it's what we're good at, and we feel good doing it, because we're in control and we have the rulebook.
These days, at football and at war, the opposition won't let us win, (although we could if they’d play by the rules!) but there are no such barriers to success at a Royal Wedding.
So why aren't there riots?
It's not a political event, and it's difficult to tie the Royals into the Global Capitalist Conspiracy because they are perceived as apolitical; and their money is so old that nobody can remember who died in its making.
And as for our anarchists, they are just that; disaffected and unconnected from the system. They don't arrange anything. They rely on the G8 summits, or anti-government demos to create a pre-arranged event to which they can just gatecrash and take their photo-opportunity (Look at me; I'm the spirit of 1848!). The Royal Wedding is not a protest march. So there is no fuel for them.
There won't ever be riots either, because no-one will be bothered to turn up and instigate one. Those who do have the wherewithal, are the very same people setting themselves up outside the city demonstrating how disconnected they are, enduring their dissenters' picnic in the Shetland rains.
Yes, it’s all a travesty, but like both the class system, and the decline in serving standards in pubs, it’s something we know isn’t right, but at the same time, can’t be bothered to do anything about.
Indeed, if there’s one thing Britain does better than ceremony, it’s got to be a crippling form of begrudging apathy.
Rule Britannia!! And pardon me while I get hung drawn and quartered for treason.
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