Sunday, September 10, 2006
Oh what a feeling! We're dancing on the ceiling!
Last night, we did something so incredibly British that I think they were actually dolling out the coveted "burgundy passports" to anyone who wanted one. They figure that if you're there, you deserve one because you've completed your patriotic duty. We lugged an M&S picnic to Hyde Park for the final night of the BBC Proms 2006. For those of you who may not know what this is/means, I'll 'splain. Every summer in July through September, there is a series of classical music concerts every night at Royal Albert Hall called the BBC Proms. This "festival" concludes with a massive celebration in Royal parks all over the UK and there's live entertainment at each individual venue before everyone links up live to the Royal Albert Hall (they show it on huge screens in the parks) for the finale which is a sing-along of traditional British anthems including Land of Hope and Glory (to the tune of "Pomp and Circumstance" - yes, the graduation song), Danny Boy, Rule Britannia!, and of course, the National Anthem (more on this later). During all this singing and merry-making, everyone is waving Great Britian and England flags. Including me. Yep, we infiltrated this most British of all British society events and got away with it by singing "Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves! Britons never never never shall be slaves!" at the top of our lungs and flailing about with a Union Jack flag.
Here's Jason with our £45 bottle of cheap champagne.
And me with my Union Jack flag. (No I was not stoned.)
And Jason with our pharaphenalia. Yes, I made him put a strawberry in his mouth.
Now for the funny bits. First of all, you may be asking yourself why the title of this post is a Lionel Richie song. Guess who was the headliner for the live entertainment portion of this most British of all British society events? Lionel Richie. An American. And when his set was over and the presenter said it was time to go live to the Royal Albert Hall, roughly 40,000 Londoners booed and booed and booed and demanded an encore. From the American. Are you getting this? Tap tap tap. Is this thing on? From the AMERICAN. As an aside, I got to hear the words "We're going to party, karamu, fiesta, forever" and "Yeah, Jambo Jumbo!" sung live, straight from the lyrical genius himself. Jealous much?
And the absolute funniest part of the evening was when this drunk Scottish dude showed up by himself, double fisting beers and stood a few feet behind our blanket. While the presenter was talking to fill time before going live to RAH, drunk Scottish dude started heckling him! If you're easily offended, you should probably skip this part. He kept yelling "Shut up and get on with it you stupid fucking Irish twat!" Then, when the chorus of school children came on to lead everyone in singing Danny Boy, he yelled "Shut up and let us sing it you stupid fucking twats!" He was quite fond of the word twat. He must have yelled it 15 times. But the funniest of all the things he said was when he was ringing up all his mates and saying "Turn on the fucking BBC 1 mate! I'm on the fucking telly!" Poor drunk Scottish dude thought that standing in the middle of 40,000 people in Hyde Park he was on tv. Jason and I were laughing so hard that our faces hurt. After that, the fireworks finale paled in comparison. All in all, an absolutely loverly evening.
Now, before I go... an observation. My American friends out there probably remember this little tune they made us all sing at Thanksgiving in kindergarten:
My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring!
Now, maybe I am totally ignorant for not knowing this but that was totally ripped off of the British national anthem! Now, since Great Britain was obviously around long before the United States, I can only come to the conclusion that the Pilgrims thought this was a catchy little ditty and decided to change the lyrics to stuff about freedom and liberation (from religious persecution in England).
And, for comparison, here are the lyrics of the original:
God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save The Queen.
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save The Queen.
Ain't that a kick in the pants! Those cheeky little Pilgrims!