A Foreigner’s Guide to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Over here recently you couldn’t move for public holidays, Union Jacks, street parties, and bunting… So much bunting… But with so much public televised national partying I do like to think it showed a good image of us Brits around the world.
And I can’t think of any other country that’s got that sort of publicity over here, of public partying, and coming together in national celebration… Well, except for when the Americans killed Osama Bin Laden.
So for those that missed it, us with our quaint traditions, allow me to bring to you a foreigner’s guide to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
They say that one million people turned up to see the Queen being dragged down the Thames on a barge, but then that’s exactly the same amount of people who turned up to watch the giant puppets in Liverpool.
Which just goes to show that people will turn up to anything. Build it and they will come. Giant picture “borrowed” from In The Dark Woods and I don’t normally credit copyright holders!
The event was typically London-centric, as always, which just goes to show how southern-inclined a country we still are. I’m sure that this event could’ve been held equally as well in either Manchester of Birmingham?
With so many boats covering such a great distance it was all hands on deck for the BBC presenters. Although I have to say I was slightly taken aback when I found out that the flotilla wasn’t being led by the Queen, but by John Bannerman on a boat made of bells… Captain Jack on a ringing boat? I’d have turn up to see that.
Another presenter was the never publicity-shy Ben Fogle, who had previous rowed naked across the Atlantic, or something, and the TV announcer echoed a sentiments of a nation when he commented that “at least he’s got some clothes on this time”.
The concert gave us a nightmarish vision of what it would be like if octogenarian Cliff Richard finally got his way and could force Radio 1 to still play his music.
The concert featured Shirley Bassey aptly singing Diamonds Are Forever, Paul McCartney doing Live and Let Die, and Grace Jones hula hooping… This was a James Bond convention, right? I was only confused as to why Tom Jones didn’t break out Thunderball.
The highlight of the concert for many was when Stevie Wonder failed to go on, on time, and they shoved Rolf Harris out to fill the dead air. It’s the sign of such a professional that Rolf broke into an crowd-pleasing acapella version of the Two Little Boys which only met with jeering when Lenny Henry tried to cut him short.
Compare this to when modern entertainer Ricky Gervais found Elton John as equally reluctant to make his appearance on time at the Concert For Diana in 2007 and it soon became cringe-worthy TV when all he could pull out of the bag was the offer to the crowd of doing the David Brent dance…
The concert ended, oddly with the Queen accepting a fist-sized diamond which she used to activate a bizarre mechanism, to set a beacon alight, and finish the programme. I’m guessing that this is reference to the Doctor Who episode Tooth and Claw where her predecessor, Queen Victoria, used a fist-sized diamond to activate a bizarre mechanism, to set a room alight, defeat a werewolf, and finish the programme.
And that was the Diamond Jubilee and I don’t see what anyone around the world could find odd, or slightly quaint, about any of it.