Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jubilee parties and protests

So in case you haven't noticed it's the 60th anniversary of the Queen coming to the throne, with various jubilee events happening. Must say I can count on one hand the number of houses I have seen displaying union jacks, though a few pubs and shops have them up.

I was a kid in the Silver Jubilee 1977 and there did seem to be a bit more enthusiasm, though even then the pro-royal consensus was a bit of a myth - most famously The Sex Pistols had a massive hit with the incendiary 'God Save the Queen... she ain't no human being.. they've made you a moron'. The song was of course banned from the radio but I recall driving my mum mad singing 'No future for you'. Last weekend in Southwark Park, artist Rachael House staged Apathy's a Drag - recreating with model boats a related moment from 1977, when members of the Sex Pistols entourage were arrested during the Jubilee after playing a gig in a boat on the Thames.

Apathy's a Drag in Southwark Park
(picture by Controlled Weirdness)

This time round many people will no doubt join in street parties, but not sure that should be taken as a whole hearted endorsement of the future role of the monarchy. Other than just wanting an excuse to party, the main sentiments underlying this Jubilee seem to be nostalgia, retro kitsch and in some cases affection for an old celebrity called Elizabeth Windsor.

In Deptford there's a Jubilee Street Party from 2 pm on Saturday 2 June at The Old Tidemill School in  Frankham Street complete with Saxon Studio International Sound System and various bands including Bastion. They are at pains to point out that 'THIS IS NOT A LOYALIST EVENT - THIS IS A COMMUNITY EVENT CELEBRATING THE PEOPLE, ART AND MUSIC OF OUR COUNTRY - ONE AND ALL WELCOME'.

In New Cross there is a Jubilee Street party on Saturday in St James Road from 2 p to 6 pm, organised by New Cross Learning with St James School and The Hobgoblin pub.

There's also plenty of explicitly Anti-Jubilee stuff in South London. More than 500 people have signed up on facebook for a 'New Cross F**k the Jubilee Street Party' on Sunday afternoon - venue to be announced. A Never Mind the Jubilee picnic is also planned for Brockwell Park on Monday the 5th June.

And on the South Bank of the Thames by Tower Bridge, Republic are planning to stage the largest republican protest in living memory on Sunday 3rd June, timed to coincide with the Queen sailing by on her Thames pageant. The event will start at 12 noon, with the main focus being between 3 and 4 pm. Speakers will include Peter Tatchell, Joan Smith and Owen Jones. Meet by the 'Scoop' next to City Hall.

Of course it's not a proper Jubilee - the kind mentioned in The Bible involved freeing slaves and cancelling debts in a 50 year cycle. That would be more like it than an extra day's bank holiday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Diamond = 60 years, not 50 as stated at top of article.

Thanks for offering some alternatives to the Niagara Falls of putrid shitewater represented by this national "celebration" tho.