The unspoken camp-iness of the Diamond Jubilee

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THE DISTRICT LINE — It was sort of like the ultimate office party, wasn’t it?  The Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

If you’re not up to speed, ten days ago the whole of the United Kingdom took two extra days off to celebrate the 60th year on the throne of Elizabeth Windsor.

Quietly but with great determination Britons put up their bunting and arranged who will bring out the barbecue to the street party.

“Who makes the best Coronation Chicken?!”

It’s a guy.  It’s always a guy.  John… married to Jessica… he will throw a tantrum if it’s not him.

The Jubilee this year was not like the muted affair of 10 years ago, when Britain was riding high and the Royal Family were hiding.

It was not like 1977 (which I may remember): a grumpy, dysfunctional family’s coming out party, where the kids emerged from the basement and there was an anarchic celebration of old and new.

Arguably this year’s Jubilee was badly timed. Can Britain afford two days of paid leave?  The weather didn’t help.

And yet the Queen is not really that far from the centre of British life. People can see what she has done.  The amount of time she puts in.  And she’s grown into a role that wouldn’t be unfamiliar to Dame Edna.

The Jubilee was real, heart-felt and few people really absented themselves from it.  At our local Tesco, Sainsbury and Waitrose food shops there were stacks of Jubilee bunting, napkins and even… trainers?

People have enjoyed themselves with a bit of self-deprecation, a bit of humour and an admitted fondness for kitch.  People have been talking about the lovely Royal Barge (it’s a barge!), how great Tom Jones looked (he’s seventy-five!) and what was with the great big lighter and diamond routine on the Mall?

It was camp.  It was fun.  And it was a new kind of community experience.


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