La Reine est Morte

Well, it’s been an interesting few days hasn’t it?

I went to bed on Thursday after a quiz at the local pub, having seen online that doctors were concerned for the Queen’s health, then woke up on Friday morning to find that she was gone and we now had a King. I had the day off work and had a medical appointment to get to, so it was all rather surreal. I kind of felt like the world should have stopped for a bit, while at the same time was wondering just why the world – especially the Australian bit – should have stopped for the death of one rather elderly person.

Maybe it was the speed of it. If she’d taken to bed and been ailing for weeks it would have been less surprising. But she was up on her feet and doing things – including swearing in (or whatever) a new Prime Minister – only the day before. I guess she kept going right until the motor burnt out.

I was raised as a monarchist, in the sense that my mother is English and both she and my dad are social conservatives that got into the reproduction game fairly late. I can’t recall ever being specifically sat down and told that the Royal family were our rightful rulers and overlords, but it was a kind of unspoken assumption. She was the Queen, and as such we were her subjects, how the world be any other way?

I remember going out to join the crowds lining the streets to see her Maj on one of her visits – the one in 1981 seems a bit early but it can’t have been the bicentenary visit in 1988 so 1981 it must have been. I remember standing by the roadside near the Mount Hospital, waving a small Union Jack while a large black car sped past with a white-gloved hand circling out the window. I think I was slightly disappointed, I suspect when Mum said we were going to see the Queen I thought we were actually going to meet her – or at least see more of her than her hand.

As I got older I found myself increasingly conflicted. The fact that our country was ruled (de jure if not de facto under most circumstances) by a foreigner rankled a bit. As did the fact that said foreigner got the job based not on any personal merits but by accident of birth. It seemed unfair and undemocratic. But that said, the Queen really didn’t seem to do much. Wouldn’t it be worse to have someone at the top who had actively pursued the role? I could see arguments on both sides.

When the first $5 polymer bank note came out in 1992 production problems made it possible to scratch the design – which included a portrait of the Queen – off with a fingernail. An informal movement sprung up with people scratching her off the notes in protest at a foreigner appearing on our money. It was prevalent enough that my high school had to issue a rule that defaced notes would not be accepted at the canteen – although how many students were doing it as a political protest as opposed to simply engaging in general mischief must remain unknown.

At the end of the 90s we had a referendum on ditching the royals and becoming a republic. By this point I had come to an uneasy internal truce, balancing my royalist upbringing with my sense of the unfairness of the whole thing with a somewhat disingenuous argument that things weren’t terribly bad so why go to all the trouble of changing them? I voted ‘No’ to the republic, but at the same time utterly despised some of the advertising promulgated by the No campaign. There was one TV commercial in particular that informed the public that “The Republic movement want to make over 200 changes to the Constitution!” without mentioning that around 197 of them were replacing the words ‘Monarch’ or ‘Governor General’ with ‘President’. The referendum failed to get up and we remained a Constitutional Monarchy.

In the years since I have got over my upbringing and although I have no specific problems with the Royals I think that we should stand on our own two feet. It’s been said for many years that the time to revisit the Republic would be when the Queen passed away, and now she has. We’ll likely have another referendum in the next couple of years and if Charles III is still our Head of State in 2027 I’ll be rather surprised.

Concerning the transfer of power I find myself quite surprised by the speed of it all. I guess it was always going to go like that, but I’d always envisaged her Maj passing away then there being about a week of arranging things before Charles was proclaimed as the new monarch. Of course he became King the moment the Queen passed (possibly due to the instantaneous transfer of kingons), so in hindsight why would there be any delay? It still all feels rather strange.

Whether monarchies should exist is a valid question, but overall I think her Majesty did a decent job of managing a very difficult position. I had hoped she’d make it to 100 like her mother, but the elderly tend to not long survive the loss of their spouses, so when Phillip went it was really only a matter of time. She held out for her Jubilee, then left.

So, the Queen is dead, long live the King. I was a bit confused when the media was calling him Charles III as I understood that he was going to take the throne as George VII, but apparently he changed his mind – maybe he didn’t want to have to keep explaining regnal names? Given the disdain he’s been surrounded by ever since the Diana fiasco he seems to be doing remarkably well – I imagine the media fixers at the Palace are working overtime to convince the public he’s the best thing since sliced bread before the sympathy for his mother dies off.

In any case I’m now mostly just waiting for the ABC to go back to regular programing instead of 24 hour live coverage of every leaf that blows down a Westminster avenue. I did happen to catch the Proclamation at the Royal Exchange and was amused in equal parts by the noisy dog in the crowd and by the ABC commentator telling us that “Lord Mayor Sadiq Khan” would soon call for three cheers (what do they teach them at journalism school these days?). The Mace and Sword of the City of London were quite impressive, although I’m not quite convinced about the sword bearer’s fuzzy hat.

I’ll finish up with a song. In 1951 composer Ronald Binge premiered a piece of music he named Andante Cantabile. The next year he renamed it Elizabethan Serenade to celebrate the newly crowned Queen and the start of a new Elizabethan age. Eight years afterwards it was re-recorded as Elizabethan Reggae by Boris Gardiner and the Love People. And here it is.

An open letter to Mr Craig Kelly MP, Federal Member for Hughes

Dear Bumblepuss,

(May I address you as ‘Bumblepuss’? I ask only out of form, as your opinion on the matter of being addressed as ‘Bumblepuss’ is entirely immaterial as I am firmly resolved to address you as such regardless of your actual thoughts on the matter. Additionally – now I think of it – there is not the slightest trace of affection towards you to be found anywhere within my heart or soul, so ‘dear’ is in your case as inaccurate a form of address as ‘Your Royal Highness’, ‘My Learned Friend’ or ‘Archbishop of Titipu’.)

Bumblepuss,

In reference to your recent unsolicited text message. I shall consider voting for the United Australia Party some time after hell freezes over, and no amount of (regrettably legal) text messages will change my mind on this matter.

Yours with loathing

Denys P. Wyrm

PS: Quit it with the Ivermectin nonsense too.

On Prosperity

When you stop and think about it the Prosperity Gospel is really rather clever.

For those not in the know the Prosperity Gospel is a peculiarly American bastardization of Christianity developed by certain televangelists (including one named – I kid you not – Creflo Dollar) to convince their viewers, on the highest Biblical authority, to fork over all their money, and it goes a little like this…

1: God loves you and wants you to be happy.

2: So if you follow God’s laws you will be good and Holy and God will reward you.

3: If on the other hand you don’t follow God’s laws you will be bad and Unholy, and God will punish you.

4: It therefore follows that if you’re rich and successful, God is rewarding you, and therefore you are Holy.

5: Whereas if you are poor and struggling, God is punishing you for your sins and you are Unholy.

6: So if you are poor – and therefore Unholy – how can you get right with the Lord, and become Holy? (and also rich, but that’s secondary to being Holy of course)

7: By taking what little wealth you have and giving it all to someone Holy! Like the filthy rich televangelist telling you all this! Plant a seed of faith by handing over every dollar you own and before you know it you’ll be rich and successful and be able to fly around in a private jet avoiding all the demon possessed rabble that travel coach!

8: (Oh, and if you don’t immediately become rich then you’re not trying hard enough, send more money and it’ll all come true!)

The great Terry Pratchett foresaw some of this with the Yen Buddhists of the Discworld, a sect who believe that money is the root of all evil and it is therefore their sacred duty to spare the souls of the innocent by personally accumulating as much of it as possible, but the audacity it takes to implement such a system in the real world is really quite something! And of course the Prosperity Gospel discards that pesky issue of wealth being sinful, thus allowing its proponents to get as rich as they like with no theological problems at all!

Naturally all of this can be justified by picking and choosing Bible verses, a fine example of the observation (I believe from the Vedic scriptures of India although I can’t seem to track down the actual source) that “Just as an animal may drink from any side of a trough, a smart man may derive whatever meaning he desires from scripture”.

If you feel that Christianity works for you, great! If the version of Christianity you select says you get into heaven by doing good works, do good works! If it says you get into heaven by accepting Christ into your heart as your Personal Saviour, accept him! But if your obscenely rich preacher is telling you you need to pay your way into salvation by making him even richer, then maybe take a step back and have a think about a few things.

Trump declares himself “Wrath of God”

Exclusive image of ex-President Trump departing Washington for Florida

Ex-President Trump departed Washington on a raft for Florida this morning, skipping the inauguration of his successor Joe Biden.

Aides close to the President state that during the trip down the Potomac he declared himself “The Wrath of God” and announced his intention to marry his daughter, found “the purest dynasty the world has ever seen” and rule the entire north American continent.

He then proceeded to interrogate several squirrel monkeys, demanding to know which of them were “with him”.

What’s a Woman?

Loving Ali Barter’s new track Girlie Bits. Savage lyrics with a deceptively sweet tune and delivery…

Also, how good is samuraiguitarist’s western cover of The Final Countdown?

Have been busy with a number of projects lately, which will hopefully see the light of day soon. Assuming of course the world doesn’t end when either President Trump starts World War III or a new Civil War breaks out on the election of President Clinton.

Interesting times my friends, interesting times…

Cunning, Flesh-Covered Androids

We have now entered the media blackout period for Saturday’s Federal election. Praise the lord for small mercies. If I had to watch another ad with Malcolm Turnbull droning …jobs. and. growth. jobs. and. growth… or Bill Shorten trying to convince us he’s not some sort of cunning, flesh-covered android I may well have gone spare.

It currently looks like the Libs will get back in, probably with a reduced minority. Not the ideal situation, but as long as they don’t get control of the Senate it won’t be a complete disaster. God alone knows what’s going to happen up there, what with the new Senate voting rules and the ever increasing numbers of insane micro-parties – let alone the fact that the double dissolution has put all the Senate seats up for grabs. Interesting times my friends, interesting times. Get your monkey paws ready.

I am currently in the last stages of preparation for my trip to the UK. Airbnb has decided that I am a human being rather than some sort of cunning, flesh-covered android which means I have organised some places to stay and will not have to sleep under a series of canal bridges. This, combined with getting enough stuff completed at work before I leave means I have not had time to do much else, hence the lack of updates.

I have started to develop the ability to recognise New Zealand postcodes. I’m not sure if this is for good or ill.

Close Bitnami banner
Bitnami