I'm at work and tonight the main item on the news on the ITV and the BBC is that the Queen Mother is being treated for anaemia and heat exhaustion.
[Cue flashy TV graphics showing little blood cells wandering in Brownian motion round and round her 101-year-old circulatory system like stoned hippies at Glastonbury Festival. Some TV graphics producers have Too Many Shiny Toys.]
Everyone's waiting for her to pop her clogs, so they can show those documentaries and news packages they've been updating since the QueenMa, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, tripped off the bloody ark.
We have been told that her transfusion was from the National Blood Bank (obviously they stock some of the blue stuff cos surely they didn't give her the common kind), that anaemia is a sign that iron absorption through the intestines is failing but this is quite common, and that she is looking "pale but relatively well" and she should be able to appear before the crowds on her birthday, Saturday.
Relentless trivia. Sycophancy. Oleaginous presenters talking about royal illnesses as if they are of great moment to the nation.
Another feh on top of the first feh, with added "sheesh" and a side order of sotto voce grumbling.
How in God's name this makes it to the top of the news agenda when there are infinitely more important things going on even in this tiny corner of Europe defies understanding.
Why should we care what an over-pampered, and by all accounts thoroughly rigid and somewhat unpleasant old aristo does? Does she have some kind of right to respect for not being dead yet? This is a woman who gets a wad from the civil list and whose daughter is the richest woman in the world, yet who still has an overdraft of 13 million quid. Who supports the old system of patronage and believes in that most English of concepts, the great chain of being. (I suppose I'm biased, since my natural place would be at the bottom) Why should I have any regard for her whatsoever?
I'm not saying I want the old dear to kick the bucket (Christ no, that would mean I have to work later and remake the paper at 1am, and I had rather hoped to get away with a few minor edits and be away on my toes by 1.30am). I certainly don't want to read the five-ten pages of "In Memoriam" crap that all the newspapers have had laid on since about 1980, just in case she popped off.
Gah. The royal family just annoy me -- in person, in principle, in general. They're arrogant, out of touch and a waste of money.
And another reason I don't like them -- they're the reason we have a shite, boring national anthem.
Other countries probably hope we never win any medals at the Olympics and such because if we did they'd have to listen to the godawful trudge of God Save The Queen. (and luckily, our sporting heroes usually oblige them
The only good version of God Save The Queen is the one by the Sex Pistols.
At least "Rule Britannia" or "Land of Hope and Glory" are jolly and self-aggrandising, if somewhat deluded -- just like The Star-Spangled banner or The Marseillaise.
I'd vote for "Jerusalem" too except: (1) it makes me cry *every* bloody time and (2) it's too English.
Maybe we should have something modern. How about "Hey Jude" because:
(1) It lasts seven minutes and we could really party
(2) No one could forget the words to this one, being as they are "nah-nah-nah-nananah-NAAAH! na-na-naaah, hey Jude" (pref. sung drunkenly over a pint)
(3) It's not insulting to the Irish, unlike the fourth verse of GSTQ
Or maybe "Supersonic" by Oasis *g*
"And the winner of the gold medal for heptathlon is Deniece Lewis. Please stand for the national anthem of the United Kingdom...
< PA strikes up. Guitar yowling ensues >
"You gotta be yerself
You can't be no one else
Give me gin and tonic
You can have it all but
how much do ya wan' it..."
I think that would suit *g*