|Lincolnshire potato does impression of Royal Knob|
July 29, 1981: Chip and Di
Aged 16, Kev, Tim, his cousin Rob and I had just got our first ever 'proper' jobs, on the back end of a potato harvester sorting out stones and clods of mud from a passing conveyor belt of Lincolnshire’s signature vegetable. It was tedious, back-straining work, and the machine was towed up and down the fields by a tractor driven by a skinny, grinning YTS delinquent who cheerfully admitted that he was getting hitched the following Saturday because “ah got me bird up the spout”. His marriage probably still had more chance of surviving than the Wales’s.
Anyway, the day before the wedding (Chip and Di’s, not the tractor driver’s), our farmer
boss, Boy Fenwick, told us not to show up the following morning because it was a national holiday. We were all devastated at losing ten quid in wages, and spent the free day hanging around and swearing at the monarchy for hitting our pockets. Meanwhile, at home (and this in the days before many people had VCRs) my Mum was recording the event using her instamatic camera, and ended up with 24 fine shots of a blank television screen in the corner of our living room. These limited edition symbols of modern Britain’s constitutional bankruptcy would be worth a bomb nowadays, if only she hadn’t chucked them all out.
July 23, 1986: Andy and The Ferg
I’d just returned from a year abroad in a modern nation state (Germany), and took a trip to Birmingham flat-hunting for my final year of study in tatty, Thatcher-wracked England. I was staying with friends, who were trying to watch the wedding with ironic, student-like detachment, but really they just wanted to watch it like everyone else, their morbid fascination having been engineered against their will by a universally erect media. I lay on the sofa reading the latest issue of the New Musical Express.
When they finally turned it off after several hours so that we could inevitably head down the pub, one of them said, “I was watching you – you actually didn’t look up at the TV screen once.” A few months later I’d given up the crappy bedsit I’d found that week, and we moved in together. So the bumptious right-wing prick known as the Duke of York, and his freeloading, toe-sucked dream princess did actually set some romance in motion that day.
Long may they reign over us. Because we’re British, and too lazy to cut off their useless, empty heads.