Jubilee

‘Jubilee’ was commissioned and performed for the Kingsfest 2012, at the King’s Head public house, celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of  Elisabeth II.  The performance can be viewed at Jubilee

 

A Jubilee, following

ancient Jewish scriptures,

the Torah, which some

may know as the

Christian Old

Testament, is an event

which occurs every 50 years –

It marks the time – and

end – of a regime of

political economic

power and control,

one that had arisen

since the last

Jubilee…

Everyone is set free,

and the land is

once again held in common –

Such a setting free

occurred every fifty years –

Jubilee is thus a time of

jubilation, a liberation

that is greeted with

shouts of joy –

with a sacred Howl!

 

Imagine!

 

Imagine!

 

Imagine!

 

What is our howl, our shout of joy?

 

Is it the Jubilee of debt forgiveness

for so-called ‘Third World’ countries?!!!

 

Is it the howl of the Jewish beatnik

prophet Allen Ginsberg when he trembled –

I saw the best minds of my generation

destroyed by madness, starving

hysterical naked, / dragging themselves

through the negro streets at dawn

looking for an angry fix…..

 

We are far from true liberation –

addicted to our affliction, the thought

does not even cross our minds –

Yet – the word flies around – Jubilee,

Jubilee, Jubilee……

 

The Jews were at least wise – or pessimistic –

enough to anticipate the vile corruptions

that plague human existence –

Every fifty years, we begin again –

 

What is our howl, our shout of joy?

 

We know what our shout of joy will be –

as dictated by the media & all state

institutions – the mouthpieces

of Royal protocol – put out your Union Jacks

and say a prayer for the Queen…

Despite all that, we will get fucked up

at Jubilee events in the pub listening

to a bad poet ramble on about the Jubilee!!!

drink, drink, drink!!! –

shit, we get TWO fucking bank holidays,

bon fires and fireworks – like an

extra Guy Fawkes night…

 

But then we wake up hung-over, hoarse

from our shouts of joy, whatever they

were as we cannot remember much after 10PM.

We spend the bank holiday on the shitter,

half asleep, dreading vaguely the day after –

 

When we are back to work!  When the political

economic and cultural order revs back up to

speed – when the machine of

brutal exploitation hums – everyone is still

poor, working more for less, shittier jobs

Who in the fuck could afford a house?

Nothing to pass on to one’s children…

We will be forgotten since it is only

gold which seems to awaken memory –

 

The last Diamond Jubilee was much as

this current one will be, is – a nexus of

ritualistic symbols, gestures and precise

etiquettes – and, damn, the Olympics no less —

but, what a different time that was – Britain

was approaching the Zenith of her power –

 

The British Empire –

 

But, let us listen

to the words of Queen Victoria

as she spoke of

her own Diamond Jubilee in 1897:

in her words: ‘

“A never to be forgotten day.

No one ever, I believe,

has met with such an

ovation as was given to me,

passing through those

6 miles of streets,

including Constitution Hill.

The crowds were quite

indescribable and their

enthusiasm truly marvellous

and deeply touching.

The cheering was quite

deafening and every face

seemed to be filled with joy.”

 

And this is a people who were

forced to basically fen for

themselves – no welfare state,

no nothing – but they were

joyous – did pride quiet the

pain in their bellies, the

pride of a glorious reign?

Or, is this testimony of

the Queen just more lies –

or did she misinterpret

mass drunkeness?

 

We live in the Elisabethan Age –

well, at least in the sequel –

and everyone knows that the sequel

is never as good as the first –

What do we think of our sequel?

Have we been liberated? Set free?

What is the meaning of our Jubilee?

As they are always telling us

to read the Bible,

we could at least ask them

to be consistent – for once –

 

Let us start over – every fifty

years – a level playing field,

fight club style –

and then we will hear shouts

of joy, howls coming from

our own mouths…

 

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