The UK is about to enter a four-day national bank holiday from Thursday, June 2 until Sunday, June 5. The Platinum Jubilee Weekend is to celebrate Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the British throne.
Her Majesty. Step back a few mental paces and consider the two words. I have a couple more. Freak show.
Ludicrously, the Royals are adored by some. You have to wonder why. The Windsors epitomise elitist privilege, living effortlessly off the sweat and taxes of their “subjects”. The wealth of ‘The Crown’ is beyond anything that most of us can comprehend, running into trillions of pounds.
And let’s pull no punches about these people. The Royals are dysfunctional, arrogant, manipulative and downright dangerous.
The heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, was a good friend of the rapist Jimmy Savile. His disgraced brother, Prince Andrew, was a top mate of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
I can only guess that some people are just blissfully unaware that their enthusiasm helps prop up what amounts to a feudal system that sits outside of the law.
None of that mattered some 45 years ago, on 7 June 1977. Silver Jubilee bank holiday. I was 20 years old, living in Birmingham. It was one of the happiest evenings of my life. Pure pleasure, causing no harm, and racking up a legend or two.
A pack of us headed to the Plough in Harborne.
Great pub. Good cheap beer. Our exhilaration may have been upped a notch by the BBC’s banning of the Sex Pistols caustic new single, ‘God Save The Queen’.
The merriment we let out fully equalled the ale taken in, too many to count. Get it down your neck and get another round. Again and again.
We had a mentor. Neil, the Mancunian that we tagged Big Dad. A mature student of around 24, Dad provided fathomless wells of stories and jokes. He had enigma and charisma to burn.
After the pubs had closed, a group of us congregated in the High Street, singing our slanted homage to the monarchy.
Oh we’re all pissed up and we’re having a Jubilee’.
Swarming in the road, we surrounded a double decker bus, and Dad proceeded to scale the side, like a mountaineer, to the driver’s incredulity. This stopped the traffic in all directions as rubber-necking drivers clocked the action.
Five minutes later, we were still laughing, eyes streaming with joy, heading back through the leafy neighbourhood of Edgbaston.
Dad and some others decided to break into a swimming pool in an unoccupied house. I had a fresh criminal record – and so this seemed like intrinsically dangerous behaviour. Others chose to climb over walls and steal some expensive-looking plants. I sat on a wall by the road with a couple of unknown girls, waiting to see what transpired.
Two of the lads returned with green things in pots. They began debating whether to take a swim in the pool of the particularly sumptuous house where Dad had ended up, and whose owners were obviously away.
Suddenly, with zero warning, a police car came screeching to a halt just feet away from our little wall. You should have seen the boys scramble. Left, right, over walls, behind bushes.
One instinct told me to do the same, while a stronger command said stay put, because you are guilty of nothing. Micro-calculations in less than a second, resulting in me remaining wedged on a wall between a random set of cactuses. Pulse racing.
The coppers asked if I knew any of the culprits. Instinct kicked in. I said I’d met them that night. They wanted names and descriptions, so I invented a shedload, and sat in the back of the police car while the information was sent to HQ. “There was a tall guy called Gary, well over six foot, dark hair. Smaller fella with ginger hair, said he came from Erdington. Think he was called Brian.”
I described about six non-existent humans. The two rozzers told me to stay in the car, and went outside again, sniffing around for perps.
Now the tour de force. A never-to-be-forgotten image appeared in the wing mirror. A bloke walking down the road, whistling. A pumped up yellow lilo slung over his shoulder. At night, in the middle of landlocked Edgbaston.
As he neared, I could see it was Big Dad. He had lifted the lilo from the pool. Intending to give it a new home. As he walked past the coppers, who were still scrambling around for clues, Dad said, very politely, “evening officers,” before winking at me and ambling on. They were too preoccupied to notice.
Then I got a lift home for my co-operation. Grinning from ear to ear.