Tuesday, June 05, 2012
aerial Jubillee party
Blackbird sings on aerial.
One moment during the celebrations of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee is engraved on my memory. During the concert outside Buckingham Palace last night the pop group Madness performed its song My House from the Palace Roof. Among the images projected onto the classical facade of The Queen's imposing London home was a photograph of a 1960's block of flats. In an instant a building which has come to symbolise royalty, riches and privilege was transformed into one which suggests poverty and mean streets. Neither building is an architectural masterpiece but the irony amid the cheery good humour of the occasion could not have been entirely lost on anyone whether republican or royalist by inclination.
After watching on TV the Lancaster bomber and Spitfires fly over the cheering crowds in the Mall at the end of the four days of ceremony I step out into the rain for some fresh air. The Grove is deserted but sounds of music flows up from the streets between the park and The High Street. A street party is in progress. The rain is steady but a spread of cakes, meringues and sandwiches is displayed on trestle tables beneath a marquee with transparent sides. Children are running in and out of the rain and grown-ups are drinking beer and tea under umbrellas. What a strange people we are: noisy, sentimental, brash, crude, brave, kind, vulgar, knowledgeable, wise and often proudly, blissfully ignorant. But still mercifully alive and kicking.