Why The Royal Wedding Didn’t do Anything for me
Posted on May 1, 2011
I am glad the Royal Wedding is firmly behind us now, it has caused me so much grief from some quarters where I have been accused of being a killjoy a party pooper and an unpatriotic republican who should perhaps consider moving away to another country. Of course, much of abuse that has come my way has been self inflicted as I have had the temerity to speak out and express my opinion, which being an opinion of indifference, should it seems, not be heard. However, when I was asked my opinion, the reason I had to speak out and say how I feel about the Royals and the elite directly associated to them is that if I didn’t and I towed the party line of the masses and enjoyed street parties, I couldn’t live with my conscience. It would have been so much easier to have just got on with everyone and joined in the fun, but if I had done I would have felt like a grubby little whore this morning.
Instead, I went on a trek along the river Kennet during the wedding that took me from Fishermans Lane in Aldermaston to swing bridge in Woolhampton where, conveniently, there is a half decent pub called the Rowbarge which serves reasonable real ale. I took this route as it was where I spent much of my childhood and youth fishing and I was feeling, for some reason, a bit nostalgic. There was also a part of me that wanted to trace back in time to the period in my childhood where I gained an instinct to rebel against general authority and the minority elite that rule the rest of us, the masses, the proletarians, the vital and widely abused cog in a capitalist pyramid where it is impossible to reach the top. I don’t say this claiming to be some kind of political philosopher, I am just curious why I am the way I am, rather than some who can wave a flag a go along with all the hysteria. You may find this hard to believe, but I found the answer in a combination of my late Grandmother and punk rock music.
As a boy I was regularly sent to Scotland on National overnight coaches from Victoria to Edinburgh to spend time with my Grandma in Kirkcaldy, Fife and during these six week summer breaks, it is now more apparent than ever the influence my Grandmother had over me. I can’t remember my parents having any strong feelings about The Royals or the elite, but my Grandmother was openly aghast at the thought of a human being belittling themselves by bowing to the Queen and celebrating their inherited wealth and pomposity with flag waving, she found it degrading and said that I should too. At face value she was a stereotypical Grandma complete with pristine grey hair held together by Silvikrin, cork lined tights, heather mixture two piece outfits and sensible shoes. She was impeccable, apart from her ongoing efforts to be the world cigarette smoking champion, something that eventually caused her demise as her lungs could take no more. Beneath that she was as a feisty character that you are ever likely to meet.
I can remember her clearly telling me how she was uniquely proud when my cousin, Alan, asked if she could buy him the Never Mind the Bollocks this is The Sex Pistols album for him as he wasn’t old enough. She admitted to getting a bit of a thrill out of it, even though I don’t think she would have ever listened to it. I was ten years old at this point and when The Sex Pistols played their version of God Save the Queen along the Thames during the Jubilee, it was, at that point the best thing I had ever seen in my life, I remember it like people older than me remember the assassination of Kennedy. I shared a bedroom with my elder Brother Graham at the time who was seventeen and regularly coming home pissed and drugged up from concerts by The Clash, The Jam and the Pistols. Rebellion was everywhere I turned, I was frustratingly, six or seven years too young to enjoy it, but it was being driven in to me from bizarre and unusual sources. How could it be that the thoughts of my pristine Grandmother were being echoed in the songs by The Clash?
While the majority of my school mates were listening to The Wurzels, The Wombles or Brotherhood of Man I was in my bedroom listening and learning the lyrics off albums by The Clash and The Jam. Far from being the foul mouth yobs the state were trying to portray them as, Joe Strummer and Paul Weller penning some of the most fantastic anti-establishment songs of their generation. When the Queen visited the AWE and our school was invited to wave at her I didn’t go, and when a few years later it was the wedding of Charles and Diana, I went fishing at Amey’s Pit in Burghfield with my other Brother Bruce, never again would I show any fondness to the elite in our society.
I already knew that the Royal family and their close associates would never do anything for me, so why should I attend a street party in their honour, no matter how unpopular it made me? When Diana was tragically killed, the national state of mourning made me feel sick to be British. People getting excited about the death of a woman and bussing themselves in to London to throw flowers at her funeral car was one of the most bizarre things I have seen in this country, it was fucking ludicrous. I clearly remember one man who was interviewed on the news saying that he had lost his father a year before but the death of the peoples princess had had a far deeper effect on him. WHAT? Whatever you thought of her, it is somewhat ironic that Diana campaigned for victims of land mines whilst the Royal wedding list contained representatives from states where you get your hands chopped off for stealing an apple.
I have no objection whatsoever to people having street parties, I sent my youngest son to one in Broughton and he had a great time. What I do take objection to is people calling me unpatriotic, miserable and boring, I don’t think I am any of those, it is not about that, it is about sticking to your principles and beliefs and I have done that by not watching one second of the wedding. Rather poignantly, the final part of my walk ended at the lock gates at Woolhampton, the same place where my Grandma used to take me fishing on her visits to England. Little did she know that as she lit another Superking and I chomped on my peanut brittle what she was turning me in to, though if she had been looking down on me yesterday I am sure it would have been with a huge grin.
The majority of people can brush aside any feelings of morality and have a good old knees up on these occasions, sometimes I wish I could, but thankfully I am not alone with my indifference. Paul Merton, Ian Hislop, Billy Bragg, Marcus Brigstock, Cherie Blair (no wonder they weren’t invited) and Paul Heaton have openly expressed reservations about the Royal family and the sinister side of it, as have many of my friends. However my favourite Royal sceptic to come out this week, and how ironic is this, is the Reading FC (nicknamed The Royals) football manager Brian McDermott. I already thought he was a decent chap for taking Reading to the play offs, now he is a simply, a great chap, he should be Kni……….
So that’s it, this so called boring, miserable, humourless, bitter and unpatriotic chap won’t change, I don’t hate William and Kate, I don’t really hate anyone that much, but I don’t know them and they don’t know me. If I ever get married again, I doubt very much they will pay for it and hold a street party in my honour, despite me not even inviting them to the evening reception!