22 Apr

We are the coprophagists

“Kylie and Shaggy help the Queen celebrate her ninety-second birthday.” said the headline. This was at a “concert” at the Royal Albert Hall. I must say I feel sorry for Prince Philip who, recovering from a hip operation, was unable to be there, for I know how thrilled he would have been to hear Shaggy and Sting “sing” some reggae “music” called Don’t Make Me Wait

(It’s so tiresome, isn’t it, having to put so many words inside quotation marks these days?)

Prince Philip’s comments on this cultural event would surely have been the highlight of the evening.

Cui bono? As the Roman said – which, being very roughly translated, means “For whose f*****g good?” Surely it was a doubtful benefit to Her Majesty to keep her out of bed so late into the evening

Perhaps Shaggy and Sting might have obliged the Queen with an encore, Her Majesty joining in ad libitum from the royal box: Don’t Make Me Wait Up All Night

I can’t believe the Queen liked it very much. We’ve all known for a long time that her taste is for military bands and songs from the shows – with a bit of Elgar or Parry thrown in for special occasions.

I must confess, too, that I’m not an expert on the sort of “entertainment” on offer at the Royal Albert Hall last night – which was merely one more example of the sort of “entertainment” which goes on semper et ubique these days. But I am fortunate to have a friend in the vastly learned commentator on these cultural matters, Alexander Boot. I don’t think Alex will begrudge my quoting one of his recent preview articles on what used to be the classical music scene. I refer of course to the coming season of BBC Promenade Concerts of which Alex gives us the flavour. Here he quotes an extract from a “song” by one of this year’s “artistes” Princess Nokia

“Talk shit, we can cast spells// Long weaves, long nails// Corn rows, pig tails// Baby fathers still in jail// Good witches, I f*** with// Bad bitches, we run s***// 4 bitches, 4 corners// North, East, West, South shit// Good witches, I f*** with// Hopped off my broomstick// Witchcraft, bitch craft// Light magic, it’s nothing.”

I wonder if Princess Nokia’s “concert” will be one of those attended by the Queen? Perhaps Price Philip will be recovered by then and be able to accompany Her Majesty and, in his customary style, show his approval also?

While I’m on the subject of the Proms, these will also highlight someone called Seprpentwithfeet who performs “Pagan Gospel” and the Buena Vista Social Club with wall-to-wall reggae.

I’m sure Sir Henry Wood will be looking down benignly on these improvements we have made on the concert series he created in 1895.

Please don’t be hard on me. I have no objection to pop concerts – so long as my attendance is not required. English people have always had a broad back and we can tolerate a bit of rubbish around the edges here and there, now and again. But to pretend it is the real thing is beyond satire. To corrupt an occasion of State such as the Queen’s birthday or to debauch a 123 years old classical music series is verging on blasphemous and certainly an act of civilizational suicide.

But we can expect nothing else. As Gertrud Himmelfarb said, “The counter culture is the culture now.” The barbarians are not at the gates but inside the city and parading their barbarity throughout our formerly great institutions: the concert halls, the opera houses, the theatres, the “book” shops and – leading them all – the churches. The Ring cycle in a German power station, Macbeth under the, Nazis, Peter Sellars’ Don Giovanni in a New York skyscraper apartment. “Music” now means only cacophany, bedlam and pandemonium 

Blasphemous? Yes, I’m afraid so. For what we are affirming in all this filth is, “Evil, be thou my good.”

What words can describe our “culture”?

Try these: “…like unto whited sepulchres which indeed appear beautiful outward but are within full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”