On this day in 1977 after months of faffing about, Queen Elizabeth II officially celebrated her silver jubilee. There was loads more stuff after this day as well, but it was on June 7th that everyone was to go out into the streets, have street parties, get pissed, get off with the neighbour and drunkenly slur “Lawd luv her, she’sh a great queen, Gor blessh ‘er!” and other such patriotic bloody nonsense.
We’ll be doing the whole thing again next year when the queen reaches her diamond jubilee (60 years on the throne) and everyone waves flags, a lot of people hang around on the Mall, bonfire beacons are lit up and down the country and some people get drunk again and whilst red in face and full of beer, wine and/or spirits, they will toast the queen before farting loudly and the quietly slipping off their chairs to lie in a drunken coma on the pavement, their carpet or in the gutter. Adultery will be committed in the name of the jubilee, if it’s a hot day there will be sunstroke and pants will be pissed. All in all, a British celebration, meant to evoke the spirit of pride and patriotism, but only managing piss and wind.
To be fair, next year’s one will be far smaller than the celebrations in 1977. For a start there are more people like me who’d quite happily see the back of the whole lot of them and then there is the lack of community spirit that our beloved St Margaret of bastard cunting Thatcher bestowed to us in the 1980s. There will be flag waving on the Mall. There will be some street parties, but there will also be a lot of taking advantage of smaller crowds in supermarkets, going abroad, sitting home and watching it on the tv but in no way getting involved with the neighbours one couldn’t pick out in a police line up if ones life depended on it.
In 1977 a worldwide audience of 500 million watched the queen smiling on a balcony with assorted
misfitsmembers of her family. She
made nice speeches and there were enough people around who still remembered the war and rationing and “the good old days” to really care about what was going on. And then of course there were The Sex Pistols. They released their single God Save The Queen to coincide with the whole jubilee hullabaloo, after all Malcolm McLaren was nothing if not a PR überkind and my oh my did people seethe at the sheer effrontery. Of course rather like those who don’t like Springsteen’s Born in the USA because “it’s so patriotic and America fuck yeah“, those who hated it so much, hadn’t really listened to the lyrics. It’s not anti the queen, so much as the establishment, the government and all of us dreaming our way in a fog of apathy through our, er, “fascist regime”. To be fair, even if the haters had listened to the lyrics they’d still have hated it, but at least it would have been for the right reasons! The hand sailed along the Thames on June 7th on a barge called the Queen Elizabeth and, well who on earth would have seen that coming! had a bit of a skirmish with the police and found themselves nicked. Oh and the song was banned on the radio, but it still got to no.1 in the charts, but instead of showing it at no.1 they instead left the no.1 spot blank. Ooh, those scary punks! It was a precursor of where we were all going. A more generalised cynicism for pomp and circumstance, although with a sprinkling of sentimentality and love of tradition; a more media savvy class of celebrity (the royals themselves were soon whoring themselves out to the media like Kings Cross crack addicts) and a future that was happy to forget the hardships of the past and demand more for no other reason than they could.
It was also a comedy rebellion with no teeth, which pretty much sums up the sort of rebellion we British folk excel at. We can’t have revolutions because mum’s got the tea on and we don’t want to miss Coronation Street (btw, they had a special episode for the Jubilee where Annie Walker dressed up as Elizabeth I. The writers had probably taken a lot of acid before they came up with that one). But, if you insist, we will enjoy the silly fellows being a bit angry, after all it’s just a laugh.
So, that was it. I didn’t go to a street party because I didn’t want to. I’ve seen friends’ photos of events they attended. I am so glad I wasn’t tempted. It was a tragic mess of flags, appalling hair and clothing decisions, spam sandwiches and generic fizzy pop for the kiddies.
Lord luv ‘er and all who sail in ‘er.
Today was and is the birthday of three singers of some note. The dead one is Dean Martin and the two who are still alive are Sir Tom Jones aka Jones the Voice and Prince.
Now, taking them in order of birth, I start with a man who had a voice that was probably used to get an awful lot of women into bed, both
by him and those who bought his records. Dino Paul Crocetti, started his showbiz career as Dino Martini and then Anglicised it to Dean Martin as he hit the clubs and sought success. He never really got girls peeing their pants and acting like lunatics in the way Frank Sinatra did, but he did have a lovely voice – pretty much modelled on Bing Crosby – and soon most people realised that he was less of a dick than Sinatra and some of them even preferred him to Sinatra. Me? I like them both vocally, but Martin’s the one I’d like to have had a drink with. Now, I know if I dig even a little deeper I can find out horrid stuff about Martin, but I don’t want to, so, you know, he sure did sing pretty and anyone with ears to hear is grateful to him for that.
Jones the Voice also sang so fine that he made laydeez throw their knickers at him. I love a lot of stuff he’s done, but what is it with his hair and that stupid bloody nose job. And wearing really tight leather trousers long past a time when anyone could have told him that an ageing paunchy Taff showing off his meat and two veg is NOT attractive. That said, I have brilliant memories of It’s Not Unusual becoming a hit for the second time and my colleague Zac phoning up to my office to say “It’s on!”. I’d race down to the room where he was working, where they had a radio and he and I would dance like lunatics and then when it was over, get back to our work. So thank you, Thomas and I’m very glad you’ve stopped with the dye jobs. Grey hair is better on you even if it still does look like a Brillo pad.
And then there is Prince Rogers Nelson. I love Prince. When I saw him live on the Lovesexy tour, he rendered
me nearly hysterical with, well I don’t know what. Lust, certainly, even though I don’t fancy him. Some sort of manic episode? A temporary madness? Definitely. He’s been laughed at for being a bit odd, a bit short and a bit up himself, but the thing is he is SO talented. A multi-instrumentalist (as opposed to a mentalist, although probably that too), he has written some of the best music I know. Sign o’ The Times, is one of the best albums I know and the title track sums up the eighties in one simple and compelling song. His music can make you happy, it can make you horny (4 real as Prince would write it) and every so often it can make you cry (if you don’t believe me, listen to Sometimes it Snows in April). If he doesn’t, someone else singing one of his songs might: Nothing Compares 2 u. The man was and is a genius and anyone who doesn’t at least acknowledge that he has some good tunes in him is totally wrong in the head. Happy birthday Prince! You make me happy.