The endlessly hyped Royal Wedding isn't generating that much enthusiasm after all.
April 19, 2011
IT'S PAST the point where you can ignore it now, with almost every paper and magazine covered in it, pubs full of flags, and every news report has to mention it, so you expect to hear, "Mister Gbagbo will be disappointed at being overthrown as leader of the Ivory Coast, but it does mean he'll have time to enjoy uninterrupted coverage of the Royal Wedding, and you can see from the smirk he gave when he was arrested that this will be an enormous comfort as he awaits his trial."
Local news reports are full of items such as: "The town of Uckfield was celebrating today when they were told one of the eggs used in the cake was laid in a barn near the local ring-road. Mayor Donald Wigbert said, 'I've read about the pride people feel when they've walked on the moon or disarmed a crazed gunman, but that's nothing compared to the glory of having our egg chosen like this.'"
One paper dedicated two pages to showing us Kate looking "slender" on a visit to Blackburn. So if this is news, presumably the day before, she looked sodding massive.
A book's been rushed out called "Knit Your Own Royal Wedding," which gives instructions on how to knit your own royal wedding, so you can march your little woolly Kate up to your little woolly William, and it will feel like you're in the front bloody row.
There's probably a guide to tramps that goes: "Don't be disappointed if you haven't received an invitation. Follow these simple guidelines and you can make your own out of discarded boxes of Chicken McNuggets, then recreate all the glamour of the great day by making your sick curdle into the shapes of all your favorite royal characters."
Tomorrow, there'll be a story from America about street parties planned on death row, with one inmate having his electrocution put back three hours so he can enjoy coverage of the ceremony on CNN.
No television show on any channel will be allowed to be broadcast unless it mentions the great day, so The Sky at Night will start with Patrick Moore saying: "Many people have asked me how the Royal Wedding will affect space. Well, there is evidence to suggest some comets will alter their orbit to pass near to Earth on the day in the hope they catch a glimpse of the happy couple."
Everyone who advertises anything has a wedding souvenir, so there are wedding plants and wedding curtains, and B&Q is probably selling Royal Wedding Shelving Brackets.
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BUT SO far, it doesn't seem to be working to the extent they would hope. For example, the government is frustrated at the lack of enthusiasm for street parties, so the prime minister has had to intervene.
But he looks like a joyless manager who suddenly wants his staff to enjoy themselves on some pointless training exercise, saying: "Go on, have FUN." You feel he's about to shout: "Can't some of you make a trifle, or play 'Roll Out the Barrel,' like I hear you types did on VE Day."
So the solution must be to let everyone have a street party on whatever day they choose, to celebrate someone they really know, rather than someone they can only knit. Everyone should be allowed a day off and given permission to shut down their road, and councils should be ordered to let them do it, when someone who lives there is getting married or divorced or whatever it is they want to celebrate.
Then William and Kate, who we're told is a down-to-earth type, can suddenly announce they've already gotten married, having nipped off to Las Vegas.
Then they can have a truly happy marriage, unsullied by having to be a fairy-tale couple. Because that is guaranteed to disappoint people, in one of the spectacular ways in which modern royal marriages do--for example when Kate's frustration with her in-laws leads to her getting arrested for chaining herself to Prince Philip's equerries in support of UK Uncut, or something like that.
First published in the Independent .
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Mark Steel is a comedian, a columnist for the Independent  newspaper, and a socialist and activist in Britain. He's the author of two collections about contemporary Britain, It's Not a Runner Bean: Dispatches from a Slightly Successful Comedian  and Reasons to Be Cheerful --as well as Vive la Revolution: A Stand-up History of the French Revolution .
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