1. a feeling of, or the expression of joy or exultation
2. a revelation that occurs over a Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend
Okay, so I made the second definition up. However, several strange things happened to me this weekend that warranted a re-edit of the dictionary. Things that I never anticipated would happen during my time in London. Realisations that hit me like a lightning bolt.
Each of these revelations occurred whilst I was in a “heightened state of self-awareness” (I was incredibly drunk) and they would not have occurred had it not been for Her Majesty’s reign 60 year reign. As such, I felt the need to come up with a new word to mark this fantastic occurrence, only to come up with a word (by joining “jubilee” and “revelation”) which already existed. Linguistic fail! However, these jubilations (my definition) are worthy of recounting.
1. I am BRITISH!
On Monday night, JD and our mates Martin, Ben and I ended up at our local gay pub, the George & Dragon to watch the Queen’s Jubilee concert. Oh and what a concert! And more importantly, what a crowd that had come along to the Dragon to share in the festivities.
As we entered the building, the sheer joy and conviviality of the patrons was like burning embers, warming the hearth that was the kitsch, queer pub. The concert was playing on a projected screen above the bar and everyone was dancing and singing with their fellow Britons. Naturally, we grabbed some ciders and joined in on the festivities.
Once we were in full swing with the crowd, Elton John entered the stage. Elton John! And as he sat down at his piano, the Dragon’s MC, who was providing comedic commentary on the concert all night, yelled out, “God save the Queen , and all of his Queens at the George and Dragon!” Everyone cheered and sang and danced to Crocodile Rock, and I shed a tear with the thought, “I am one of those queens!”
However, the defining moment was when Paul McCartney was on stage. [Sidenote: did anyone else think it was inappropriate for him to sing Live or Let Die, or was that just me?] On the screen, the crowd before Buckingham Palace went crazy and Paul McCartney broke out into The Beatles wedding song classic, Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da.
Soon, the patrons of the Dragon were arm in arm, a sea of smiles, swaying and singing along: “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, life goes on, bra, la la oh how life goes on!” Martin, Ben, JD and I were also arm in arm together with strangers in the crowd, singing and cheering and loving being B-R-I-T-I-S-H
“Oh my God , I am British! I love being British!!”
I am not British. I am not even a monarchist. But that is what I was thinking, that is what I was feeling, as we all sang along. How could I not get swept up in the emotion?
I have always found it strange that Britain, Great Britain, one of the most progressive social democracies in the world, continues to have a governmental system that is entrenched with a monarchy. It just seems so quaint, so old-fashioned, so primitive.
However, when I was down by the Thames, squeezed in among the millions, waiting for the Queen to float by, I noticed something. Despite everything that is going on in Europe, despite the shitty weather that was raining upon us, everyone was happy. Everyone was polite, chatty, excited and proud. There was a true community spirit. I am still sceptical about the monarchy’s relevance to government (particularly in my home country, which desperately needs to adopt its symbolic independence), however I can’t underestimate the value of the joy and hope that she brought as a figure head for the nation. If the people still want her (and it would seem that an overwhelming majority still do), then who am I to cast judgment?
2. I am really Australian
As affirmed above, I am not British. I am Australian. However, I felt British (and proud of it!) in my four-day state of frenzied jubilation. At least I did most of the time.
Prior to this weekend, I have always been quietly proud to be Australian. I love London and I am in no rush to return, but Australia will always be my home. Similarly, I have always loved my accent, albeit convinced that it is quite an eloquent, understated, proper version of the Australian accent. Like Geoffrey Rush or Cate Blanchett.
However, my love for my accent took a beating during the screening of the Jubilee concert at the George & Dragon. Shortly after Elton John’s appearance, this happened:
Me: “Who’s that playing on the roof?”
JD: “Madness. Apparently they were the 1980’s for Britain. I’ve never heard of them.”
(I look up at the screen)
Me: “Ooooooooooh, Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaadness!”
Out of my mouth, vowel sounds formed that were more nasal than Muriel’s wedding vows. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing; my beloved accent was suddenly repulsing me. Thankfully, Paul McCartney finished the show with a bang, distracting me from my vernacular crimes.
However, this was not the first time I had become aware of my Australian accent that day. Earlier in the evening, whilst drinking beers with a group of English, Scottish and Irish folk in my living room, I actually spoke the following words without a hint of irony or self-deprecation.
That’s right: fucking emus. I, self-professed eloquent Australian urbanite, commenced a diatribe on the viciousness of fucking emus. Unfortunately, enamoured by my instant catch phrase, my crowd failed to pay attention to my advice on the perils of trying to run away from one of the world’s deadliest birds. Should they ever attend a school camp in Western Australia’s south-west, they will be fucked.
The self-realisation of my devolution into Dundee-scale Australianism initially terrified me. However, I am slowly returning to my Australi-love ways, now that the shining lights of the Jubilee celebrations have started to dim. Perhaps I could even make some fucking emu t-shirts and start selling them on Red Bubble. Let me know if you want to make any orders.
3. I moved to London
As Madness crooned, “It must be love, love, love”, JD and I looked at each other, smiled affectionately and gave each other a short, sweet, drunken peck.
My heart fluttered.
At that point I realised: “I moved to London. It is a big deal!” It is a big deal. It has taken me 4 months for me to not believe that I did it. I’m glad I did though.
Love is grand. However, it should also be reserved for 16th century sonnets. Sorry for ending this post so blurgh. I’ll try harder next time.
God Save Liz!