Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. When the musical version of Oliver Twist opened in the West End in 1960 one of the reviewers wondered if this marked the beginning of musicals with shortened titles and exclamation marks, and if so, when might we see the premiere of “Great!” Anyway, Happy Birthday Charles and thanks for the words.
It’s also the 60th anniversary of the ascension of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I’ve seen her through the years at polo in England and when she gave my Dad his QSO in Wellington. Am I royalist? Not sure, don’t think I’m a Republican, so I guess so. I can’t imagine us being able to find a suitable President every four years or so, we have enough trouble finding a Governor General we all agree on. There’s something nice about the permanency of the monarchy and I do love history. I love the castles and the tales and the costumes, much more interesting than the present day royals, but that’s largely because modern communication has robbed us of the mystic. I’ve seen the movie, “The Queen” a couple of times and it’s a well written piece, Helen Mirren is very good, but should we make a movie about the Queen? Does that not reduce her to the level of every other bio pic? Mind you, I really enjoyed “The King’s Speech”, even if I didn’t think of George VI, I thought of him as Colin Firth.
There is an argument that the whole concept of royalty only works if the mystic is maintained. If meeting the Queen becomes like meeting any other person, then why have the institution? Why spend all the money? So people will travel to see the trappings of the past? The office demands the kind of person she is, dutiful, loyal, serious, otherwise what’s the point? What will happen when she dies? Not sure, but I do think that, eventually, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will make the kind of King and Queen that feeds the illusion on which the institution is based, a fairytale King and Queen who live in a castle.
It is also National Eating Out week, bet you didn’t know that. Restaurants should make more of that fact. And a couple of days ago was International Kissing Day, I suspect that slipped by unnoticed for most people.
Other interesting pieces of trivia: This year will see the world premiere of Hugh Whitemore’s play at the Chichester festival. It caught my eye because of its title “A Marvellous Year For Plums.” It was, indeed.
Two interesting food discoveries, can you imagine chocolate, caramel and potato chips all in one mouthful? Who in God’s name invented this?
Now this I can see a use for on a hot summer afternoon…I have the recipe, you started with a reduction…