Or it could be fog. At any rate the tops of the hills are no longer visible, the cloud is solid like a great slab of time, and there is a persistent fine rain. It is June upon the Misty Isle.
Along with another great slab of time, sixty years, what the Chinese call a 'Great Cycle': the Diamond Jubilee, like the weather it has taken us all over this holiday week-end. And along with everybody else, I watched bits on TV, the Jubilee Show on Monday night with the great global minstrel Stevie Wonder singing it like it is.
Happy Jubilee Your Majesty!
And the fly past over the Palace on Tuesday afternoon, the Red Arrows, leaving the red, white and blue streams of smoke hanging in the sky. Then it was all over, the Palace balcony was clear, and the smoke and crowds began to disperse.
Later on the same evening, I was at my desk and searching for what George Szirtes had said about his translation of Satantango by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, which has just been published in English (first published in Hungary in 1985). I went to George Szirtes blog to search for more, but was diverted by what he was writing about the Jubilee.
First there was the Jubilee Letter which he posted to the Palace on Sunday night. I recommend it and agree with his heartfelt sentiments, "Thank you for taking me in". In normal circumstances, GZ said, he might go for a republic. But it would seem churlish to have revolutionary feelings this last weekend. And the continental sense he has is that the cruelties of a backward-looking monarchy are likely to be less than those of a forward-looking revolutionary junta. The cruelties of monarch, GZ argues, by and large does not include eating their people…
Then there was his second post on Monday night following the Jubilee Show, harking back to the best in music and popular entertainment over the last sixty years, this time GZ's memory was stired by his recollections of the Tiller Girls at the Palladium when he was boy, and Royal Variety Performances over the years: High-kicking precision. Even Stevie Wonder had to play on time on Monday night!
Franz Josef, as GZ could attest, could not have put on a better show. The great long-lived monarch of the Twin Monarchy ("The United Kingdom of Austro-Hungary") had his Diamond Jubilee in 1914. Sixty Years again, another great slab of time, with all the resplendent uniforms, coaches, horses and high-kicking precision. However, I do not know if it also rained in Vienna over the period of the celebrations.
Franz Josef died in 1917… and after that it was the deluge. Oh Ukania! Yes, your peoples will miss her when she is gone, they surely will!