Oh, so there was some concert just on at ‘the Palace’, celebrating colonialism and all that sails in her. As I’ve just endured it via the wonders of VPN iPlayer here in La France*, I hereby give you my assessment whether you like it or not.
Despite being the product of Bowell’s Not Got Talent, Diversity were fun and enjoyable, though their potted romp through the decades seemed to suggest British music went from Beatles to Bee Gees to Bowie (and pronounced Bow-ie, ugh!) to…. the Spice Girls. Yeah, right, for the sake of continuity of the Bs they should have stick Bananarama in there, a far superior girl group all round, especially after Toto Coelo split.
In person, the surviving stars of the ‘60s and ‘70s are all of a certain vintage now, but unlike a fine French wine they’re becoming an acquired taste. Like Macca, Ferry and constipated bulldog Elton, Rod Stewart, the singing cadaver, possesses a mere smidgeon of the hoarse whisperer voice that made his name. And have I missed something or how is Sweet Caroline written by that legendary Britishperson Neil Rough-Diamond suddenly a “UK anthem”? Did Queen Betty become Queen Caroline by deed poll? I think we need to know, and not just in Hammersmith W6.
Duran Duran? Sadly, Simon “Charlie” Le Bon (hubby to the absolutely fabulous Yasmin) has never been troubled with an aurally pleasing voice, particularly at big televised concerts (Hi Live Aid!) but the band were solid and dependable, even if Nile Rent-an-appearance-Rodgers tried to spoil things by reminding everyone who he’s friends with for only the 256th time this year.
And the rest?
Alicia Keys was classy, Sam Ryder and his All The Young Dudes “borrowing” for Eurovision cheesy. Again.
It was hard to work out who was more nauseating — Jason Donovan or the “composer” with so many crimes against music, Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was bad enough having to perform Any Dream Will Do in the school Christmas play back in the day, and even worse when the Neighbours starlet and one-time Kylie courtshipper inexplicably took it to No.1 in ’91.
As for beige George Ezra, he was so monotone and banal with his nursery rhyme lyrics I say that damned Shotgun needs to be pointed AT him before he makes any more records. Quick!
Madam Lambert with half a Queen was gassy and bloated, much like the frock-coated singer himself. He looked like a cross between 50th birthday Bowie, Adam Ant in the Prince Charming vid and a Bangladeshi pie salesman. And are embarrassingly arrogant lyrics like “no time for losers ‘cos we are the champions” really suitable for a gig celebrating a Head of State who is said to symbolise unity and stability?
I wonder. It‘s frightening,
Besides, when are Taylor and May finally going to call it a day? Would Blondie still call themselves Blondie after the person who named the band and the band is named after is no longer of this earth? I think, nay, hope we know the answer to that one.
Keeping it in the family, Crocface Camilla looks like she doesn’t know one end of a flag from the other and the Windsors all looked hilariously tragic trying to be down with the commoners by waving theirs.
And don’t get me started on horsey slaphead Prince Wills. He barely conceals his grimacing through his gritted teeth at public events these days (probably jealous of the hairier ginger sibling enjoying decent weather in Cali with Smeghan the showbiz diva), while his stick-insect wife Kate Blandshit tries to sing along to Ain’t No Mountain High enough despite not knowing the words. Oh, they are a bunch of cards.
And the top turn herself Diana Ross? Not her most shining moment. I’m an arch admirer from way back but it was a somewhat sad spectacle to see an old lady tottering around the stage looking a bit confused in an oversized funereal gown that doubled up as a giant toilet roll holder.
Miss Ross sang along to pre-recorded vocals fairly lamely (when the one-time Supreme queen attempted to speak she kinda gave the game away – particularly when she started “singing” while she was still speaking)… and whoever was doing her sound mix is no doubt unemployed as of today. Hey hey.
Anyway, the whole shebang was tawdry tosh that cost many millions and something that will confuse onlookers about British stereotypes and culture for a long time to come. Huzzah!
And if I can paraphrase a dear departed Duke, it felt like I’d get slitty eyes if I watched any more, so I’ll skip to the best bit: and it wasn’t even a concert performance but a quietly entertaining filmed prelude with Her Maj taking tea with Paddington bear.
Say what you like about the anachronistic, archaic institution of monarchy but “Mummy” shows herself to be a good sport and mildly happy to send herself up. Even this cynical old hack felt the heart warming, if I had one, that is.
And gawd knows the longer sausage-fingered Chaz is kept away from the throne the better.
Vive La République, obvs.
Steve Pafford, France
*As of this excessive, extravagant taxpayer-funded Platinum Jubilee, Betty has been Queen of the ‘United” Kingdom of ‘Great’ Britain and Northern Ireland for 70 years and 119 days. In a week’s time she will surpass the record of Rama IX of Thailand. And then only one other monarch stands between her and her place in word history, and he’s French: Louis XIV was King of France for 72 years and 110 days. Whatever side of the fence you sit it’d be jolly nice if she smashes that record.