‘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
Testament, is an event
which occurs every 50 years –
It marks the time – and
end – of a regime of
power and control,
one that had arisen
since the last
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!
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,
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
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…