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I wasn’t going to. I tried hard not to. I’m still trying to stop myself even as I’m typing. But I’m afraid I’ve failed. I must give in and write about the Jubilee celebrations.
The thing is we’ve had so much coverage of the amazing events of the bank holiday weekend, you might not be interested in one more person’s opinion. But sorry, it was all too much to ignore.
I have to say that overall I completely loved it. It was a wonderful occasion to reinvigorate our national pride and get some party spirit back in this somewhat depressed nation.
I thought the planned events were magnificent; the spectacular river flotilla, a living, albeit cold and rainy, version of the Canaletto painting which inspired it; the beauty and solemn splendour of the St Paul’s Thanksgiving service and the traditional elegance of the carriage procession through London.
But what I was looking forward to most was the concert outside Buckingham Palace. Ten years ago I remember watching open-mouthed as Brian May played on the top of our royal palace and I wasn’t really sure how anyone would beat that moment of spectacle. But I wasn’t counting on Sir Gary of Barlow being in charge, and I have to say if he had anything to do with the genius idea of having Madness on the palace roof singing Our House, then his knighthood should be bestowed quicker than one can say Take That.
And the company behind the lighting and animation display for Madness’ set should get a royal warrant at least – and an immediate invitation to create something for the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
They really did bring ‘our house’ down with not only the great visual display, but uplifting, energetically performed music which was deeply evocative of an earlier era of the Queen’s reign.
But what of the rest of the musicians on the bill? Well if I was Her Majesty, I would have been delighted to have turned up late and missed some truly awful performances. She might look very pretty but Cheryl Cole really should stick to miming, as she really couldn’t hold a tune in a bucket.
Will.i.am, though clearly a talented producer, should never sing in public again.
And frankly, Cliff Richard, though he has impressive longevity, should let us remember him in better days. Only about one in four notes was actually in tune. For my money, the three of them should have been sent straight to the tower.
At the other end of the scale were terrific performances from the legends that are Tom Jones, Elton John and Stevie Wonder (though momentarily spoiled by Will.i.am joining him on stage), moments of sublime class from Renee Fleming and Lang Lang and a quirky yet endearing performance from the consistently and delightfully barking mad Grace Jones.
What of the rest? I thought the linking comedians were hit and miss and some performances were completely forgettable. And I know these thoughts might be controversial, but I really wish Kylie would have her adenoids sorted and please someone tell Macca that he needs to stop dying his hair and should now concentrate on playing but definitely not singing.
And then there was Sir Barlow’s Jubilee song, Sing. I’d heard the song in the build up to the weekend, but it was only when I saw the excellent BBC documentary of the making of the song that I really appreciated all that was in it. So when the beautiful Lydia from the African Children’s Choir started the song I had goose pimples, and I’d like to believe that’s the kind of performance the Queen enjoyed most.
So, it was a great weekend of celebration and one of which the nation should be proud. The royal family is fantastic for our country and we should not underestimate what it brings to our culture and economy, but also as was proven this weekend, how it improves the mood of the nation.
I really hope the Queen can rule for at least another four years so she can beat the reign of that other great monarch, her great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria.
NOTE TO SELF: All together now, ‘God save our gracious queen.....’