Pussycat Pussycat, Where have you been? I've been to London to visit the Queen. Pussycat Pussycat, What did you there? I frightened a little mouse under the chair.
Welcome to Episode 13 of the West Park park bench podcast. Last week's episode was titled everything changed or everything changes within a week the psyche of the British public has shifted in a way that is curious, fascinating. And in equal parts unknown and scary. Queen Elizabeth the Second the Queen of England passed away last Friday. And that short nursery rhyme at the opening of this podcast was the line that immediately came to my mind going to visit the Queen and I wasn't sure whether it was a nursery rhyme or a children's story. It's certainly part of my childhood and the trips to London and London museums that I took with my parents. London has always been a strange spiritual home for me. Although I've never lived there. As a child. I didn't grow up in London. I do come from a family that first generation out of London in fact, first generation from the south and how their move from the London suburbs Walthamstow in Leytonstone, taking them up in the late 60s early 70s. In a wave of modernity in a wave of positivity of inviting people from London to move to the provinces moved to the regions and council estates were being built and my parents were, were given a very brand new council house and they lived there for I don't recall ever living there. So I must have been born just after that. So 1972-73 There was a time when they moved from the counsellor state and into a local newly built housing estate. And that transition seemed to be happening around all of my parents, friends at the time there was that move from one side of the street to the other side of the street and living in a small town that has this. People wanting to aspire to better themselves, and it was an aspiration not to better themselves to be millionaires, but to better themselves to just look after themselves to be self sufficient. And part of buying a house and having a family was part of that aspiration. And there was a real sense when I was growing up that my school had a front entrance and a back entrance and the front entrance was by coincidence or by engineering, the side of the private estate and we're not talking posh houses here. We're just talking you know, not the council state. But there was this real backdoor back down to the counsellor state and there was this real sense of split and this real sense of duality between those kids that lived on the counsellor state and those kids that lived in the on the other side of the road, the houses were pretty much identical. The lifestyles were pretty much identical. Most of the people living on either side of the road all worked in the same factories, whether it was on the factory floor or in the offices, but I grew up in this, this
there's this kind of sense of naivety, but it was an age. It was an age that really has resonated and as really formed the core of who, who I am and what I became and living through the 70s as having a 70s childhood having an 80s teenage-dom and having a 90s in emerging into Adult-ness graduating. Entering the new millennium was a real milestone of we're entering into the future. It was a time that seemed so far away. So when the Millennium happened, it was we're here. You're very aware that you'd gone past the point at which 1984 had been written books that were set in the future were increasingly becoming in the past. I always find it strange that the 2001 Odessey is it it should be 200 and 1001 2001 just doesn't sound far enough to me even now. I'm thinking it's that right. But the sense of this is the future that the people in the 50s and 60s dreamed of and it is not it. And with this coming to a close of the current Elizabethton era I think all the imagery that goes along with that is gonna fade into the past, passed to others that hoping that somewhere revealed beneath it will be this technotronic future that has been hidden in the past that has been shrouded by nostalgia. I also fear of a Republican Royalist Monarchist conflict that will move beyond the politics that's dividing us right now. I think everybody's so exhausted by politics, they're going to look for something else. And I think this could be the next something else. The cost of living crisis, the the fuel crisis the the anti social media mental health catastrophe that is just bubbling beneath.
It's going to be it's going to be a few years of, of observation of letting the world wash over me while trying to be a beacon for people who are a loss more than I am. I think that's the thing I actually feel quite lost in this world. And I'm oddly at ease with that. This dislocation, from what I see around me, I don't feel part of the world. I don't have a strong core set of friends my life and my world and my existence is me and Dan. And right here and right now I'm okay with that. But I know that that can't last forever. And I think this passing of the Queen reminds you that things that you think will last forever won't.
Apart from the childhood memories and nostalgia of Buckingham Palace and queens and princesses. There is a notion that the Queen was a really strong female presence in our society. And I also want to and I would like to have conversations with people about whould the progression of women's rights and the women's place in society have gained as much momentum if there hadn't been a female head of state. How much as her presence made it okay to be female and and ask for what you want and the fact that that's been such a hard fight. And this still isn't true parity or true equity or true equality as women simply because you do, the lived experience of being female gives you a sense of perspective that's been affected by your birth and your childhood and your teens and your graduation and your emergence into the adult world and motherhood if that's what line you go down
Everything has changed from that moment. And everything has reset to a level that has become an unconscious Reset an unconscious comfort zone. And this is where I look upon the impact of Commonwealth and the impact of Monarchy and the impact of a democratic political system that has a head of state that if we didn't have the head of state it's almost like that pressure valve that I certainly would have potentially a stronger sense of politics maybe if we didn't have the monarchy because you would need to fight for the ultimate leader, where our prime minister never feels like an ultimate leader. When the Prime Minister is a party elected position as the leader of the party, and it is the party that we vote for in elections. I mean, we are aware of those that are standing for office but the tourist mechanism, that is the romanticism of royalty, is also very valuable to this country. And what would the United Kingdom be without the monarchy and I think there's a conversation that needs to be seriously debated in an impartial forum that asks those questions and looks at that mechanism. And so that we do have a balanced insight into that core foundation of our existence that has always been there having Charles third as a progression from Charles the First chance to second and Charles the third. How will our perspective of history embrace the stories of those previous kings? What are the stories of those previous kings in their relationship and their their relation to the story of history going to play?
I really wasn't sure what, what this today would be. And as a reflection What do I want to say to anyone who's listened to the end? I'm really interested in have conversations about what having a omnipresent Head of State really means. I mean, now that it's, it's gone. It really brought back to me everybody that meant a lot to be that has gone it made me reflect on on the death of my father. It definitely made me reflect on the death of good friends that prior to their death gave me really deep and useful advice about dealing with grief. At the time my father died. I am very aware that I don't have a lot of death in my life. I have a lot of life around me. I have a small family that are going to leave a very large hole I can feel myself falling into embroidery metaphors
so I'm going to end this here. I'm reflective of the world around and what is going to change on what will happen moving forward. How will people adapt to having King Charles How will those people who have a passionate opposition to the monarchy start to voice themselves I really don't want to finish with the imagery of V for Vendetta, which is one of my one of my favourite films.
So I think what I will do is finish in exactly the same way I opened. I'm going to take this poem and I'm going to put it through a AI generator because there's a lot of things being done that that so this is going to be the reading that I will use for this marker in my time for me to look back and be piece of media that took place now that time between her death during the period of mourning and a funeral.
Pussycat Pussycat, Where have you been? I've been to London to visit the queen. Pussycat Pussycat, what did you there? I frightened the little mouse under the chair.