|LETTERS FROM LONDON
|REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
12 September 2015
The Queen surpassed the 63 years, seven months and two days of Queen
Victoria’s bum on the throne. Well, not always on the throne was it? Her
disappearing et al after Albert’s death. Wait. Elizabeth is still not the world’s
longest-reigning monarch. That honour belongs to King Bhumibol of Thailand
crowned in 1950.
Irritable, irascible historian Dr David Starkey accuses the Queen of the crime of
banality. “She has done and said nothing that anybody will remember. She will
not give her name to her age. Or, I suspect, to anything else.” Ouch! The
Guardian’s Polly Toynbee dismisses her as the “past mistress of nothingness”:
“Another avalanche of adulation is about to asphyxiate us.” More ouch!
I know you want some fascinating facts - don’t you? The Queen is the only
person in Britain who can drive without a licence, since they are issued in her
name. She can travel abroad without any travel documents or a passport, since
these are issued in her name. Issued in her name; don’t you actually love that?
The Queen gets to celebrate two birthdays per year. Not fair is it. While her
proper birthday is on 21 April, her ‘official’ birthday is celebrated on a Saturday
in June. Two parties, two cakes, twice as many presents, twice as many
birthday cards, twice as much bunting, etc, etc.
The Queen has her very own private cash machine installed in the basement of
Buckingham Palace, supplied by Coutts. Wait. Didn’t you think the royals didn’t
carry – or touch – cash, and certainly not the Queen? But the basement? Really?
Let’s talk cash then. Does she carry it or does she not? Paul Burrell revealed:
“Yes, she carries around a £5 note that is ironed into little squares, so that it’s
finished up with one little square with her face on it.” Now who decided that I
wonder – her face facing her? L’État, c’est moi? (Louis XIV ruled France for the
longest reign in the history of any major European throne, over 72 years –
although it is thought he didn’t actually say that. Oh well).
“She then pops it into the collection box on a Sunday. That’s the only time she
carries money. I wonder if she’s watching this.” I rather doubt it Paul. The
Queen’s total value to the economy has been estimated at just under £57bn and
this year alone her net contribution will be £1.155bn.
The Queen cannot be arrested; she is immune from prosecution. This is
because the courts are under the power of the Sovereign, thus she is unable to
prosecute herself. But don’t you just wish she could for the fun of it?
The Queen cannot be compelled to give evidence in court since all prosecutions
are carried out in the name of the Sovereign.
The Queen and lest we forget the rest – the members of the Royal Family are
exempt from Freedom of Information requests. Oh all those secrets will remain
secrets. Damn. Although Prince Charles’ ‘spider letters’ were revealed to the
public after a court ruling earlier this year.
The Queen can fire the entire Australian government since she is technically the
Head of State in Australia. Oh we’re liking this one considering the shameful
right-wing government who finds letting refugees die at sea a reasonable policy.
Oh. Apparently shamed into it, they will accept 12,000 migrants now. Wondering
about the details as getting into Australia is more difficult normally than getting
into the Pope’s bathroom. I know. It doesn’t make sense really.
The Queen is a brilliant mimic. Oh don’t you just wish you could witness her
version of the Middletons. Do you suppose she chomps on gum when she surely
does Carole? She is known for her witty sense of humour. Her spontaneous
response after having had eggs thrown at her in New Zealand during a
walkabout: “I myself prefer my New Zealand eggs for breakfast.”
But just in case you thought all was perfection, Paul Page shows up. Paul Page
you ask? Evidently for 10 years Paul Page was a trusted officer in the
Metropolitan police’s royalty protection command, the guards who guard the
Queen and other royals – until Michael Gillard’s new book, For Queen and
The Queen’s guards were drunk, slept on duty, cheated on the entry test, gave
each other outrageous and lewd names, nicknames for the Royals (OK. Andrew
was known as ‘The C..t) as you do, photographing themselves as gangsters
brandishing guns whilst sitting on the throne as the Queen slept.
They allowed The C..t’s ‘ladies-of-the-night’ to sneak into Buckingham Palace
(the Queen was clearly not at home) and occasionally drove them home
afterwards, pornography and steroids (curious combination) sold in the palace
locker room, parking for friends and family at St James’s Palace, gambling
schemes, pyramid-like schemes, property and spread-betting Ponzi schemes,
investors had carte blanche access to the Queen’s garden parties (oh I don’t
think she would be best pleased do you?), police convoys filled with cash for
investments, Paul Page conned police and civilian investors out of £3 million to
fund his own gambling addiction which led to his eventual trial. When a group of
Page’s investors realised they had been scammed, a hitman was hired to kidnap
or - kill him. Oh they were not amused were they? Page was jailed for six years.
Luckily the Queen wasn’t willing to hand over her cash was she?
The Queen was ‘very interested’ in the mystery of the Lochness Monster when
there was general mania in the 60’s. She asked to be kept informed. No, really.
Human after all?
It Doesn’t Suit You
Thinking about life, as you do, OK thinking about fashion, as you do, I was
thinking about how men wear suits, as you do – black, blue, grey suits – ie;
uniforms – with all that that implies and it is not positive really is it? Then,
surprise, surprise The Guardian has an article on men dressing more like
Catwalks showed the influence of women’s wear. Suit alors! I mean zut alors!
Gucci menswear show for autumn/winter 2015 featured a pussy-bow blouse,
sheer lace T-shirts, capes and loads more blouses. Balmain’s models wore
jackets made of sparkly jewels, Givenchy and Dries Van Noten had kilts and
patterned, embellished blouses, while Haider Ackermann featured louche
leopard-print coats, stringy silk scarves and chelsea boots. JW Anderson
offered tight leather, skinny knitwear and bootleg trousers. Hedi Slimane’s Saint
Laurent surprised with shocking pink fur coats, leather trousers, mesh tops,
eyeliner and heels. It’s a time warp – it’s back to the 80’s; rock and roll, glam
rock, androgyne, Lycra – wait – not Lycra surely.
Picture Kurt Cobain on The Face in a dress, in a floral dress no less in Sept
1993 with chipped nail varnish. Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci: “We [fashion
designers] don’t have a huge power but maybe we can make people think. To
me, beauty is beauty.”
All that ubiquitous ‘sportswear’ - so boring darling. Men in branded trainers, T-
shirts, hoodies and jeans accompanied by women teetering on stilettos in full
makeup in skimpy outfits, and that’s at the weekend on the high street. As if they
are living in parallel universes. One ‘validate me’ and the other ‘ah, comfort’.
But just when I was satisfied with my latest observation, the i fashion coverage
tells us it’s all about uniforms. So before you rush out to buy that pink polka-dot
pussy-bow blouse to go with your startlingly pink furry coat, it may be time for a
No surprise Armani wants men to wear navy and grey peaked caps, ‘crisp
shirts, tautly buttoned torsos [that] had a uniform air to them’. Evidently, there is
‘an emergent mood of uniformity’. I’m getting the message, or should I say
command here. Alexander McQueen showed ‘all strict soldier suiting, flak-
pocketed and boxy shouldered’ and evocative words like ‘Valour’ or ‘Honour’
printed on the clothes, Valentino followed the trend. Earth-brown, olive-drab, dull
blue and green and black; how exciting.
Will there be a war between the fluffy eccentric vs the interchangeable
uniformed? Hmmm. There are nine countries at war in the Middle East and
Africa. Curious to dress men in uniforms surely. Preparation for? Soldiering
Rants and Raves or I’m Losing the Will to Live
Welcome Refugees – Really?
PM CallMeDave ‘feels their pain’. David, proud as a strutting Holland Park
peacock, announced he would double his earlier ‘promise’ (and we know Dave
is as good as his word…ha) and now take in 20,000 refugees. Do I hear
applause? Oh. Sorry. That’s the Germans in Munich. We shouldn’t hear any
welcoming sign as CMD is only allowing 20,000 in over a bit less than five years.
Problem with the maths? 5,000 a year for the next five years. Isn’t Germany
taking in 5,000 a day, hour, minute – whatever…actually 20,000 last weekend.
Oh Dave. ‘Big Society’ Dave. Kind, compassionate CallMeDave. He understands
their plight; he had swimmer’s ear on the last of his three holidays this summer.
Quelle horreur! He had the same affliction last year. Poor Dave. Another 20
refugees drowned off Italy last Monday. Tiny children forced to drink sea water.
Oh. I forgot. Dave can’t hear can he?
Hmmm. Latest polls reveal the ungenerous, self-protective, superior nature of the
Brits. I’m confused. No. Embarrassed. Seemingly Britons are mutating into
Hungarians. Now reduced to ‘let them eat cake’ (actually the ‘quote’ was more
appropriately ‘buns’). You know, you’ve seen the bun-throwing rather like
feeding time at the zoo. Trust me. Not a good look. Not a good country.
The Fun Bits
You know about Longleat surely; the first safari park outside Africa, the
indulgently eccentric Marquess of Bath, but all is not well on the massive 10,000
The heir’s mum banned from his wedding, Nazi memorabilia, racism, feuds,
suggestions that marrying his half-Nigerian wife would damage the family’s
Lord Bath claimed in 2006: “I’m certainly no admirer of Hitler or his art, but I
can't get rid of them as they belong to the trustees.” Huh? Among the collection
are 30 of Hitler's paintings and Himmler's glasses. Who knew? The heir, Ceawlin
Thynn, who took over the running of the estate in 2010, says he is desperate to
get rid of the notorious collection, amassed by his Fascist father and fan of
Hitler who had briefly put it on display. Yikes! I mean Himmelherrgott! I think.
Who knew? This would be a first edition of Mein Kampf and a pair of SS leader
Heinrich Himmler’s spectacles.
Heir Ceawlin, put ‘security on standby’ in case his mum turned up at his
wedding. Oh dear. That was serious. The Marchioness’ response to his
marriage plans: “Are you sure about what you’re doing to 400 years of
bloodline?” by marrying Nigerian oil tycoon’s daughter Emma McQuiston, The
Marchioness, a onetime ‘erotic’ film actress (what do you suppose that means
exactly?) lives in France with her lover. Mon Dieu! What class.