New Times,
New Thinking.

28 April 2011updated 17 Jan 2012 6:01am

I can’t bring myself to dislike the royals

We should put them in a glass dome and be able to phone them up and tell them what to do – like a ro

By Steven Baxter

At first, it was the royal wedding that was annoying. Then, people complaining about the royal wedding being annoying became more annoying than the royal wedding. Now, people pointing out that people complaining about the royal wedding has become more annoying than the royal wedding has become more annoying than either people complaining about the royal wedding, or the royal wedding. So, what are we to do?

Well, there’s no escape. You can’t run. You can’t pretend it’s not happening, because every single newspaper, TV channel and radio station will be saturated with news of The Big Day. You can’t stick your head under a rock for the whole of tomorrow, for fear that the woodlice will be holding their very own woodlouse royal wedding under-rock street party, replete with tiny woodlouse bunting and microscopic woodlouse trestle tables covered in woodlouse sausage rolls and woodlouse paper cups of warm woodlouse Tizer. No. There’s nowhere to go, and nowhere to hide. We’re just going to have to suck it up.

Already, the interest in the wedding jollity has meant that we find ourselves in the midst of a bunting crisis, perhaps the gravest bunting crisis since records began. “I have genuinely never seen anything like it: fighting over bunting in the bakery aisle,” one eyewitness told the Telegraph of the unprecedented scenes.

When ordinary people are out scrapping over some plastic red, white and blue triangles on bits of nylon cord, you know that there is no stopping this tide. There is not going to be any room for apathy; there is only compliance, or doom. It has been decided.

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I’ve always been rather ambivalent towards the royal family, as I think a lot of us are. I can’t bring myself to dislike any of them – I even waved at Prince Charles once. I rather enjoy the idea of silly carriages and castles. I like the daft old pomp and ceremony as some representation of daft old country and daft old culture.

I may not like the “hereditary head of state” bit, but I suppose that is a minor quibble in the big scheme of things. If we can’t even convince the people of this country to change the voting system from something unfair into something perhaps marginally less unfair, it’s going to be a bit of a big leap to doing the big constitutional stuff like creating a republic.

No, we’re stuck with them – stuck with these rather outdated antiques to peer at. Perhaps we could get more value for money by sticking them all under a giant glass dome and being able to phone up and tell them what to do. It would be a bit like a royal BabeStation. “Yes, hello, Prince Michael, this is Jeremy from Swansea. I’d like you to dance for me, please. Dance! Go on, dance! I’m paying for this!” we could bellow down the receiver.

But then again, what we have now isn’t a million miles away from that. Instead of confining them to a glass dome, we keep them in an invisible cage, with our legions of paparazzi to follow them around and keep us up to date on whether they’re picking their noses, or falling off their skis, or whatever.

I feel sorry for them, despite their riches. What kind of life must these people have? So if they get to have a bit of a knees-up every now and then, I suppose that’s fair enough, and we all get to join in (except for those of us who are doomed to spend the day in dusty offices wearing ill-fitting plastic Union Jack bowler hats), so it’s not all bad.

Annoyed by the royal wedding? No, not me. Not even annoyed by the people saying they’re annoyed by the royal wedding. The only way to get through these coming hours of silliness is to embrace it.

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