So I completely missed all of the Diamond Jubilee coverage thanks to being exceptionally busy (of late) and eight hours ahead of the UK (as usual). However, thanks to the marvel of YouTube I have managed to piece together most of the momentous occasion in three-to-five minute clips that looked like everyone had a splendid time! Granted it rained but that could scarcely be more British and I suspect that if the sun had come out the million-strong crowd on Pall Mall would have run in fear from the fiery yellow ball in the sky! As it was I watched in the sweltering humidity of Singapore but felt the chill of a Channel breeze slip up my sarong all the same.
Now, we British are known for many things; resilience, stiff-upper-lipped stoicism, binge drinking and, of course, not being able to let go of the past. From Shakespeare to the ’66 World Cup winning team we just cannot let it lie! Exhibit A: Our most famous football chant, sung – usually by men dressed as 12th century Crusaders – whenever we meet the Germans in competition; it’s called Two World Wars & One World Cup (doo-dah, doo-dah)! Have we really achieved so little since the swinging sixties that we must keep referring to our back catalogue to remind people why we’re the only nation with Great in the title? It seems so, in the case of war, football and music.
One thing Britain really is Great at is music; we’ve produced some of the most innovative, influential and biggest selling artists of all time from the Beatles, the Stones, Pink Floyd and Elton John in the 60s to David Bowie, Dire Straits, Queen and Led Zeppelin in the 70s. And we’re still harping on about it! Don’t get me wrong I am a huge and respectful fan of all these bands and more but it seems whenever a global gig needs to rent some credibility they call up one of our icons and offer to top up their pension pot. And as the world gets smaller the gigs seem to become more frequent. When LiveAid happened in 1985 it was a phenomenon, the biggest music event since The Beatles live telecast of All You Need Is Love in 1968 (or maybe the Concert for Bangladesh in1972). But since then they’ve picked up pace with NetAid in 99, the Concert for New York in 2001, the Golden Jubilee in 2002, SARS Benefit in 2003, Live8 in 2005, Live Earth in 2007 and this year’s double bill of the Diamond Jubilee and Olympic Closing Ceremony both headlined by Paul McCartney.
Macca is the definition of a legend, a man so gifted and so famous he’s almost unreal. He is officially the most successful composer and recording artist of all time and even if Noel Gallagher insists that he ‘has only produced manure for the past 25 years’ he won’t ever be able to tarnish Macca’s reputation – the man wrote Yesterday when he was 23 years old for Chrisakes! But, Paul’s puppy-dog eyes are looking a little more hang-dog these days, his voice isn’t what it once was and I’m starting to wonder if it’s time for him to hang up his Hofner bass and rent a cottage in the Isle of White (if it’s not too dear). And he’s not the only one, Elton looks more and more like a disco ball every time I see him and as for Mick Jagger – he’s going to pop a hip if he keeps dancing like that!
So, if I was Gary Barlow (and I’ve been told there’s a passing resemblance on a dark night with a thick layer of fog) who would I choose for the line-up? It needs to be contemporary with a mix of credibility and mass appeal that showcases the Best of British to the world. I wrestled with the idea of the Happy Mondays and Stone Roses, Blur and Pulp but wanted to make it as up-to-date as possible to prove we have legends in the making so here’s what I’ve come up with:
- Coldplay (Headliners) Closest thing we have to modern rocky royalty (even though I’ve never bought an album), guaranteed to bring the house down
- Adele Biggest act in the world right now, long may she reign over the charts
- Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds The second best thing to Oasis
- Muse Not everyone’s cup of tea but if they can headline Glastonbury they can certainly take on the Jubilee
- Kasabian The third best thing to Oasis
- Gorillaz Arguably the most innovative group of the last decade
- Arctic Monkeys Continuing the tree-dwelling primate theme
- Lily Allen Because she needs to stop fannying around with clothes and get back in the studio!
- Kaiser Chiefs They could start a riot
- Take That National Treasures on the make
- Mumford & Sons The sort of band that everyone knows the song (Sigh No More) but no one knows the name…yet
- Frank Turner Probably goes against all his punk ethics but is easily the best writer of British folk songs since Billy Bragg and recently sold out Wembley Arena
What do you think? I reckon that’d be decent night out, there’s no Shirley Bassey of course but I’m sure one could tap one’s toes to Adele. I realise by the way that we have a rising tide of ‘urban’ talent but I shall embarrass neither myself nor anybody else by pretending to know who they are or what they do. If, however, you have any recommendations please let me know. Cheers, N.