Friday, 11 May 2012

Spike slanders the British royal family

Yesterday, Thursday 10th of May saw an unusual event in a Scottish BBC TV studio. During the regular airing of the lunchtime news, the newsreader, Sally Magnusson did the usual handover to the weather report. What made this particular event so special was that Britain's crown prince, Prince Charles, had taken the place of the normal weatherman.


Granted, Charlie had been given a special script, one which was - oddly enough, hem hem - rather focussed on areas where there were royal residences, but I have to admit that, looking at the picture above, he seems to suit the job quite well. For a British BBC weatherman, that is. I'm not entirely sure if it was 100% scripted, but Chaz even managed to fit in a jokey reference to our beloved weather patterns and the apparent poor timing with regard to public holidays.
"...but a cold day everywhere, with temperatures eight degrees centigrade and a brisk northerly wind. Thank God it isn't a bank holiday."
It's not laugh-out-loud funny, I'll grant you, but it's typical British humour; a wry recognition of certain immutable facts of life.

You may have gathered from my rather over-familiar references to the queen's successor that I don't go overboard in my flag-waving Jingoism. Don't get me wrong though, I don't dislike the royal family completely. I'm not sure how politically potent they are these days. Queen Victoria was pretty much the last reigning monarch to be actively involved in the running of the country, although it may be that that could change if Charley gets the crown. He's been noted for - how shall I phrase this - trying to influence the opinions and practices of the British people and businesses. Some see him as a welcome positive influence and possible role model, others just think he's an interfering busybody without a clue. Me? I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, especially since he's done some good things, raising awareness of environmental issues being just one example.

So that's Charles. But what of the other members of the royal family? The Duke of Edinburgh is hilarious, albeit in a teeth-suckingly and completely cringeworthy embarrassing uncle way. Harry is an earnest young chap, although he's made some howlers himself in the past. I think he's going to grow up to be one of the best people though. And then there's Prince William, Charles' eldest son and therefore second in line to the throne. He's OK, I suppose, but his future role means that he has to watch what he says and does very carefully, with the net effect that he comes across as an amiable and serious-minded fellow - with about as much charisma as a soggy chip (or french fry, for our colonial cousins).

Of course, I can't ignore our current monarch. But... I can't really think of much to say. She appears to be nice, but all I really know of her is that she gets to go on holiday a lot and probably has to see a physiotherapist about RSI in her wrist from all that gracious waving. Having said that, I do recall a sketch on the satirical puppet show, Spitting Image, which had a puppet of the queen, singing 'One Will Survive', to the tune of the classic Gloria Gaynor song, 'I will survive'. In the sketch, Queenie sings about the possibility of abdicating so that Charles has a shot at the throne before he kicks the bucket himself. Well, more precisely, she sings about there being NO possibility of abdicating... As I recall, it was absolutely hilarious.
As you can see, blind obeisance isn't a huge part of my psyche.

Getting back to the point, my friend Wolf mentioned Prince Charles' stint as a weatherman and handily posted a link. I wasn't too worried about watching the clip myself, although I was interested in my friend's opinion; apparently, Charley handled it rather well, which led Wolf to believe there was an alternative future for him. I wasn't too sure myself, and responded in my usual, cynical and none-too-reverential manner...


It might not have been all that bad, except that I have something of a reputation for twisting the meaning of words and sentences, often to a salacious end. A reputation that came back to bite me right where it hurts...
Heh.. oh well.

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By the by, Wolf is the generous soul who sent me one of his copies of The Time-Traveler's Wife to offer as a bonus prize to one lucky person in our World Book Night draw. If you want a special edition of this book, then email us or comment below, just to say you want in. I'd hurry though, as we will be making the draw on Sunday evening (GMT).