'What is the Queen?' She says out loud. The question was not really directed at Philip; she's looking up, with dull, aged eyes, at the chandelier.
Philip stirs from his slumber, vomits up some half-digested quail breast. It slops over the side of the bed and onto the richly pattered carpet. The meat chunks show little sign of having been chewed...he also brought up a bit of salmon mousse. Have to get the maids to look at that in the morning. He dabs his mouth with the bed sheet.
'What did you say?' He has a parched voice. His blood is thick and palace dust has been accumulating in his lungs for decades. A slug could make it through his digestive system unscathed.
'What did you say?'
'Oh Philip. Go back to sleep.'
'Yes your Majesty.' Philip is instantly asleep.
But the Queen cannot sleep. She picks up a letter from her bedside table. Opens it. It is a letter from a Blue Peter competition winner.
Dear Queen Elizabeth 2,
My great grandmother recently turned 100. She was very pleased to receive your letter. When you turn 100 will you send a letter to yourself?
Lucy, aged 9
What is the Queen? the Queen thinks. Will I send myself a congratulatory letter when I reach 100? Why yes – yes, I believe I will... A venal smile spreads across her face, a broad V with a blunt point. She puts the letter back on the bedside table and curls into a dog-like sleeping position. 2012 is her diamond jubilee year. Hereditary power.
Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber love the queen. They congratulate each other as she condescends to flick them one her famously lazy half-waves out of the window of her gilded horse-drawn carriage. They begin to smile and think about waving back. Then they remember: the Queen is not waving so much as telegraphing a tacit command to bow. Bow! Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber feel a surge of blood to their cocks. Their smiles disappear and are replaced by two dripping, salacious grins. They bow deep. 'Delicious,' thinks Andrew Lloyd Webber, his eyes now pathetically averted onto the pavement. 'Keen,' thinks Gary Barlow. They decide to write a song in praise of her Royal Highness. They call it Sing. It has a bagpipe outro.
It's no good. But how could a song about the diamond jubilee possibly be good? It turned out, as it must, nothing better than an expensive kind of grovelling. It sounds like an Olympic games opening ceremony, a BBC thriller inspired by something that's on American TV, Britain's got talent, Deal or No Deal. It is genuinely unpleasant, nothingingy, white noise from the UK's shadow population of a-cultural, ageless, sexless, thoughtless, aggressively tasteless, floppy-eared donkey men. And (donkey)women.
Here it is:
Here it is: