I waited in vain for an invitation to the wedding. I think it must be because I look ridiculous in a hat. There are certain people with oddly shaped heads who just look strange in them. Wills is one, His uniform, resplendent red, was offset by this huge cap which looked as if it was borrowed from a friend with a larger frontal lobe. Others had similar difficulties. Here we see Princess Beatrice, wearing antlers, or is it a langoustine, a young lady with a blue canoe on her head with her friend wearing a stork’s nest. Mrs Parker-Bowles is either preparing for lift-off or reaching out for help and a spectacularly hatless Samantha Cameron, whose disregard for protocol was almost – but not quite – enough to make me want to vote for her husband’s party next time.
The Embassy staff here, along with all the other potential recipients of the OBE (other buggers’ efforts) for services to international relations, are throwing a wedding bash on Friday. Wall-to-wall coverage of the Big Day, plus beer. I could’ve got a ticket but didn’t in fact apply since I have rather too many dark Republican tendencies and the cucumber sandwiches would doubtless have turned to dust and ashes in my mouth. I have nothing whatever against the estate of Matrimony – indeed if familiarity be any guide, I might count myself quite an authority on the matter. Neither do I bear the young helicopter pilot any ill-will, he’s a dead ringer for my son – if balder. And she seems a pleasant enough little filly, if a bit skinny for my particular taste. I rather doubt however that the Palace would have resounded with undisguised whoops of merriment had Wills chosen differently.
There’s an extra large facility on my image editor which I’ve actually avoided using.
What always amuses me is the curiously conservative attitude of the British population. Whenever they get a chance to flag-wave and show a bit of solidarity for the House of Windsor, they do so with almost immoderate gusto suggesting they’d prefer them to carry on gallivanting at vast expense to the Exchequer and opening hospitals than not and this time, they get a day off as well to do it.
The Langham, alert to a PR opportunity and self-proclaimed inventor of Afternoon Tea, shamelessly plagiarised by the Ritz, is offering the following:
Delicate speciality pastries, scones and desserts including:
Westminster Abbey chocolate cake;
Apricot and raspberry Royal Crown;
Royal Champagne jelly;
Warm wild lavender and honey scones with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry preserve.
…and the little shortbread wedding dress is particularly tasteful.
All this, plus a glass of Laurent-Perrier NV for just over a hundred quid for two. Lovely. I could get a new hard drive for that.
The last time we elected to dispose of a monarch, barely ten years later, after a decade of cancelled Christmases and compulsory worship, his successor was welcomed back with a few muttered words of apology. The French, on the other hand, set about aristocratic genocide with far more determination and the cleansing was so radical that we now have Sarkozy instead. Brits like having a monarch. It’s like owning a pedigree cat, but more expensive.
i do rather feel sorry for Miss Middleton, however. The pressure to conceive will be enormous and no excuses will be tolerated.
It’s always the same.You wait for ages for an atheist bus campaign, then three come along at once. Must have missed off the word ‘alone’. Oops. Sorry, Iowa
Are there free bus-miles for signing up, d’you think?
Andrew O’Hagan, a journalist comments on a bus journey from Hampstead to Waterloo…
“At Mornington Crescent, I saw a bus coming the other way that said something a bit intriguing up the side: ‘If you’re not religious, for God’s sake say so.’ This was an ad paid for by the British Humanist Association and it was meant for people wondering which box to tick on their census form. According to the Humanists, the government justifies the funding of faith schools with statistics saying a giant proportion of British people are Christian. It’s only since 2001 that our census form has popped the religion question. It took me about three seconds to realise I wouldn’t be ticking the box marked ‘Roman Catholic’. This might sound like a no-brainer to some of you, but not to me: it was a long three seconds. Even 40 years after my baptism, 25 years after my confirmation, those three seconds of renunciation were a glimpse into the howling caverns of Hell.”
Godlessness on public transport in Ft Worth and Dallas is apparently sponsored by the Richard Dawkins Foundation.
In London, this one is a favourite.
Tradition – in other words things we learned at our mother’s knee when we believed everything we were told is a powerful and misunderstood lever. Most of us rarely bother to question what we were told then, either abandoning it thoughtlessly or embracing it fully. The middle ground where half-truth is reconciled in one’s own mind is more difficult to achieve. In the 2001 census, nearly 400,000 people in England and Wales – including an impressive 2.6% of those living in Brighton – replied that they were ‘Jedi’ or ‘Jedi Knight’, which is not a religion in the strictest sense but you have to admire the instinct. Not sure what I’d write.
Brits do kitchen sink drama better than anybody else. Ben Wheatley’s “Down Terrace” tells a rather rambling story about a son and his father, (real life Robin and Robert Hill) boss, it would seem, of a small-time Sussex crime family, who in the beginning are acquitted for unspecified offences. All seems not well, however and webs of suspicion fall on one or other of their associates who are coldly and unemotionally bludgeoned, stabbed, shot or poisoned for allegedly informing on them to the police. Psychopathy mingles uneasily with family loyalty which garrottes each cold soul, slowly and relentlessly as the family structures disintegrate. Critics called the outbreaks of violence comic and absurd – I found them creepy, appalling and darkly realistic. One particular murder – almost everyone seems to end up dead – involved the quite neutral dialogue of the son asking his ‘friend’ if he’d mind holding up a large transparent plastic sheet against a wall, for no discernible reason. The friend, amiable and bovine, agrees, and is fatally bludgeoned once with a hammer for merely falling under suspicion and is then wrapped tidily in the sheet which he once held. The sheer lack of remorse, repeated in various other terminal scenarios, including an old lady, mother to one of the suspects, being casually pushed in front of a moving car lends undertones of undiluted evil. This isn’t Coen Brothers in Bermondsey, Eastenders, nor the Sopranos in South London. Much, much worse. We are left to wonder who will be left standing at the end.
The soundtrack is, paradoxically, full of simple beauty such as “Babes in the Wood” by the Copper Family and a dark rendition of the mountain gospel song “We Shall All Be Reunited”
Eight out of ten, as long as you have a strong stomach.