celebration Tag

queen elizabeth, diamond jubilee, public relations, rejuvenation of the monarchy (4)

The rejuvenation of the crown

Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee It wasn’t so long ago, I recall, that the Royal Family was a bit of a joke. An entire generation of them seemed unable to keep their private lives out of the tabloids with their adulterous, gaffe-prone, toe-sucking scandals. And the response to it all from the top left the public wondering why these people should be representing them. Oh, what time, a bit of clever public relations, and a lot of pageantry can change! To see the crowds in the mall and around Buckingham Palace this afternoon – more than one hundred thousand of them – shows how far the monarchy has come in the past decade or two. To see a gathering of such size, flags waving, is a rare sight for a head of state in a western democracy. When they cheered in unison, three hip hip hoorays, there was a genuine warmth, love and admiration...

Read More
06 June
diamond jubilee flotilla, london, thames, queen's jubilee, river parade (5)

Pomp and circumstance

Jubilee flotilla on the Thames Oh, for such a British event, there was such British weather. The rain and the cold didn’t keep the Queen’s loyal subjects away from the Thames to see her Diamond Jubilee flotilla, though. Oh no, it was something else entirely that stopped much of the crowd enjoying the festivities. “I suggest you either go home or find a pub with a tellie,” shouted the safety officer with the polite assertion that only the English do so well. The parade of boats down the River Thames had not even started yet but already people were being turned away. As I walked the back streets to try to find an access point, it was hard to move in some parts. Thousands – no, tens of thousands – of people were in the same boat (ironic pun intended). Each potential entry to the river met with the same result: a group...

Read More
04 June
texas, university of texas, austin, college football, nfl, sport

Religion is faith and sport is religion

College football in Texas It was when the well-spoken fifty year old Texan woman, her hair permed in deference to the sensibilities and social requirements of the Deep South, grabbed the bag of cheap wine offered to her, drank long and hard and then slapped the bag, that I knew we had entered a very different world. We were in Austin at what is described as ‘a tailgate party’, a massive drinks and barbeque warm-up for a college football game. We had come to the city to experience the culture and, even in the vast land of Texas, nothing is as big as this sport. In Texas, religion is faith and sport is religion. There’s a fervour that takes control of people and possesses them when it comes to their local teams. And for this afternoon, we were pulled into the cult and together we all worshipped at one of the largest temples...

Read More
17 October
  |   1 Comment

Independence Day

What a day of patriotism! So much red, white and blue! Such an overt demonstration of national pride! The 4th of July brings out the best in Americans. And, more importantly, they see the best in America. For many of these people – wheelchair-bound, close to poverty, threatened by the vices of society that tear families apart – there is nothing more sacred than the country which, ironically, seems to have neglected them in their time of need. So, keeping with the spirit of the day, I chose not to focus on domestic policies of the USA. Instead, it was about celebration, so I went to one of the country’s largest 4th of July parades. Oh, that star-spangled banner was yet waving o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave in the city of Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco. Their parade stretches through the city for 3.3...

Read More
05 July