I loved my grandmother. And my grandmother loved the queen; because of the Second World War; because of the corgis; and because I had bought a television to watch the coronation in 1953. When I lived with her in the early 70’s she had just switched to a color television and wouldn’t allow me to watch the old black and white movies of Kurosawa or Truffaut who I coveted as a child, because she had “paid for the color”. However, if “colored” people came on TV, like Ken Boothe singing Everything I Own on top pops, the channel would be quickly changed. It looked like there was a rule for blah blah blah inserting a punchline here. Take my wife! Please!! I’m here all week!!! Try Daylesford Organic farm baskets!!!!
My grandmother was a spiritual ancestor to this generation that voted Brexit, ruined her great-grandchildren’s future, and then quickly passed away. And I loved him. My grandmother’s royalism was shaped by the crucible of the Blitz, by the acacia and daub of Coventry immolating on the eastern horizon and by the Queen Mother picking through great craters with grateful audiences on news of Pathé, perhaps the most selfless and inspiring act of any member of the Royal Family until the current Queen paid Prince Andrew’s £10million costs. With our money. Surely she could have auctioned off that bejeweled hat, the one that drives around the mall in her own car.
I’m a queen skeptic now, I guess. But in the summer of 1977, the year of the Silver Jubilee, I was dressed in a patriotic polythene tabard-bracelet combo that came free with Marvel’s issue 32. Captain Brittany comical and ran around the street party in the rectangle of green grass in the middle of the housing estate singing the national anthem in sunny bliss, my egg-white face stained with Mom’s homemade pavlova. I was 28 years old.
I’m joking of course ! In 1977 I was nine years old!! And to this day, I bitterly regret making a stupid wrinkled monkey face in front of my mother’s camera as the royal carriage drove past us and the queen waved her white glove, after our eight-hour wait at the railings in the main street of Solihull. “Why do you always have to act stupid all the time and mess things up?” my grandmother was desperate, not realizing there was a career in this. She never really forgave me for spoiling the royal moment, although I think I partially redeemed myself by introducing her to my showbiz acquaintance, Nicholas Parsons, on the Lower Regent Street in 1993. He had seemed so taller in real life than my grandmother wondered how he fit in. inside the color TV.
I want to enjoy the jubilee, but I’m conflicted. The red, white and blue bunting swaddling the celebration just makes me think of Rwandan deportations, wistful Brexit patriotism and Boris Johnson bewitching the bewildered as he waved the union flag while deliberately falling from a Zipline. Funny Boris. It’s no longer my flag. I want my country back.
I walked into a theater in Derbyshire last week through a union flag forest entrance hall and suddenly went back to my surly childhood self, immediately changed the music playlist house for my show that night to include the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen and the Kunts alike. deleted the single Prince Andrew Is a Sweaty Nonce. My grandmother would have slapped my legs.
But what does it mean to wave a British flag, now that Brexit has trashed our international reputation, compromised England’s relations with Scotland and Northern Ireland and left our most precious at the mercy of the sadistic Philistine thugs elected to deliver him? Having been the extended patsy of an early entanglement in Johnson’s silken web, the Queen is as much a victim of Brexit as this Ukip-supporting eel farmer whose eels are now all rotting in a warehouse in the Forest of Dean . , but it stinks less of dead fish.
And given that pro-democracy supporters must respect the result of the Brexit referendum, whether we voted for it or not, we must make the most of the benefits it brings. On Wednesday, Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed the scrapping of EU vacuum cleaner regulations was one of the “most interesting” freedoms offered by Brexit. I’m going to use an anti-UE Henry to suck up my remaining tears. I heard they work just as well on rotten eel corpses.
On Monday, Kent County Council awarded a largely undeclared £180,000 contract to disaster relief charity RE:ACT Disaster Response to provide food and water to stranded lorry drivers by Brexit. Thoughtfully, this weekend’s compensatory package for those permanently stationed took the form of a special luxury jubilee package. Each stationary trucker will receive a slice of Prince Andrew pizza, a Prince Philip ‘slitty-eyes’ mask, and a small, wipeable, furry, vibrant scale model of the Queen’s latest corgi, Willow, that can be plugged into the lighter. -cigar in the driver’s cabin to provide much-needed comfort and relief.
It’s a strange time to celebrate the Queen. The patriotic fog that frames it is the same brain fog that saw the failing Brexit government reach out to the poignant memory of imperial measures. The return of the gill, furlong and peck are fresh attempts to distract from gallons of Friday fridge wine, £840 gold-rolled wallpaper perches and flowing scruples from vomit at the party from December 18 in Downing Street. So fuck the queen.
But in 2014 traumatized Syrian war veteran Dr David Nott visited the palace and was overwhelmed by an attack of PTSD when the Queen asked him about his work. She invited him to come and feed the corgis with her, to take his mind off the atrocities he was reliving.