So how was your Jubilee weekend?
I’m glad to say that rain didn’t stop play in our village, gazebos having been donated for Sunday’s street-party. The turnout, comprising all ages, was great. A hog-roast was supplied by the butcher for cost price (if that) and his staff volunteered to clean up the High Street afterwards.
On Monday our local hall put on A Queen is Crowned. Laurence Olivier had done a workmanlike job of narrating the colour record of the Coronation – another rainy day! – marred only by his occasional inability to control his enthusiasm. We were then treated to a 60s cover band performing note-perfect renditions of some of the best popular music produced during her Majesty’s reign.
Afterwards my better half and I watched the Thames Jubilee Pageant on i-Player, and thought: come back Laurence, all is forgiven. Only the BBC could turn an event on a scale unparalleled since 1662 into the apotheosis of banality. As one letter-writer to the Telegraph noted, "the viewing numbers reflected not quality but monopoly". The same went for Tuesday’s coverage of the National Service of Thanksgiving in Westminster Abbey, where the nadir was surely provided by Fearne Cotton extolling the virtues of a Diamond Jubilee-themed sick bag.
Some redemption came with the Diamond Jubilee Concert, especially Gary Barlow’s Sing, starring musicians from across the commonwealth, with the Military Wives’ Choir providing a thoroughly British touch. Furthermore, in Barlow’s Making Of…, the absence of celeb tears when in the Dagoretti settlement to recruit Kenyan percussionists the Slum Drummers was refreshing.
It was the Queen and her people who saved the Diamond Jubilee from the BBC’s efforts to reduce this remarkable woman to the status of a sofa-surfing celebrity. When looking back on it, I suspect A Queen is Crowned will be the high-point - along with, of course, the subject of the film as she was on the day: her own inimitable and dignified self.