Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Your Royal Meme for the day.... (I hope it helps) 'The Artist formerly known as Prince (Harry)'

In the light of yet another royal parasite being delivered, I though I would offer an antidote to the barrage of compulsory celebration. Here's a story I wrote a while back - A satire about Harry the larakin - 'The Artist formerly known as Prince (Harry)' ..... What IF he's really just terribly misunderstood??

The Artist formerly known as Prince (Harry)

The weight of history is a heavy thing, I feel it with me constantly. The eyes of my ancestors, their long stares following me down through the halls of history. Their expectation is that I their descendant must join them. There is a huge amount to live up to, eyes watching, tongues wagging, my life is history in the making.

History. The public, biographers, the trash tabloids, all those who mark and record, who shape the story of how we will be remembered. Of course it is not just the recording of history, but its manufacture. The business of constructing history and with it the longevity of power, shoring it up through words and deeds piled up one on top of the other. The building of a grand edifice fit to support the continuation of my line.  It's a strange way to live, looking backwards, living each day with attention paid to how the story will be told. Fame or notoriety, what will I make of myself?

Some say that to be born into such expectation must be a terrible thing, tho who can say what choices we make before birth?  What roles we choose? Is there such a thing as fate? And we as players, surely there must be some choice in how we undertake the parts we are cast in, what shine we give to a role. There you it have the age old argument of nature vs nurture, free will over determinism.

My name was chosen before I was born, fashion gauged, a calculation made of what might be seen as proper, fitting. What might best serve the public perception of how 'A Royal' should appear. Following the tradition of lineage and the passing on of names: 'Harry' an upbeat, modernised, version of Harold was chosen. The last royal Harry was a King something I will surely never be. He also had his parallel William. Harold the poor bugger trying to reinstate his good reputation on the battlefield, then taking an arrow to the eye.

Or so the legend goes, who can really tell what is true? The story of king Harold and the arrow in the eye has always been told as history, but no one knows for sure. Legend and history are often passed off as one and the same thing. The Bayuex tapestries, the tabloid press of the time, depict his fall under the arrow. Recently there's been another look at those ancient tapestries, it seems that they may have been altered later on to tell a different story. That's the thing with history, there's always tampering along the way.

In the modern world there is our relationship with the press, ah! The heady interplay between british popular culture and the media. It's how politics gets done, the building of images, alliances, the playing of one house against another, we royals are certainly good at that. Power moves as it will via the melding of public opinion: to sell newspapers, fund political parties and float the banks. But the balance of power has shifted over time in ways we never envisaged, first monarchy was overtaken by the state, now the state slowly sinks under the rise of the corporations.
Still There are roles to be played and we royals hash out our soap opera like lives, in the ready service of whoever pulls the strings.

It's a bit like being a member of the Spice Girls, being a member of the royal family, Posh, Scary, Baby, Sporty, Ginger. Easily understood characterisations through which simple stories can be told, ourselves manipulated like puppets. Wet Charles with his ineffectual interests in the environment, Diana 'The Peoples Princess', Horse faced Ann, Fergie the strumpet, The corgi loving gun toting grandma: Our Queen. I have to admit that piece of PR got a bit offside. William, the first son, heir to the throne after Charles. Squeaky clean William, the only one who really stands a chance of being king. And to reinstate the balance I have to be 'bad Harry'. To prop William up, grant him the crown of respectability, I'm always there: second in line, the fall guy. I have become Harry of the astounding pratfall, 'Harry the lad'.

I have to admit, I can see now that the nazi incident was a mistake. Looking back I can understand that dressing up as a member of the Nazi party doesn't exactly convey a good impression. But it's all a matter of interpretation, honestly, it might be a surprise to you but I'm actually very lefty. More than just 'small l' liberal too, I've read my Bakunin. I know thats a bit of a turn up given my background, but think about it, what better position from which to consider the corruption of a centuries old feudal monarchy? The British monarchy set within the decaying Uk, drenched in its bloody history of colonialism and imperialism, it's enough to give you nightmares.  The image of me stepping out in Nazi regalia, complete with Nazi salute, was supposed to be a wry commentary on all this. A knowing wink at the political games of diplomacy, and the royal families historic connections to Germany. A parodic self reflective pastiche of class control and royalty, meant to be read as an ironic post colonial narrative.

Thats the thing with a multi layered post modern rendering of a fancy dress theme, the rest of the crowd were too dull to pick it up!
No one knew that I was shouting 'God save the queen' at the time they never thought to apply the classic punk reference I was making, but thats the tabloids for you. Never mind the bollocks. I mean what other story are the tabloid press prepared to tell? Of course it's going to be the shallow surface skim of 'Harry the larakin', drunk, thoughtless, no heed paid to the sensitivities of others. I forgot, it must be beyond them to have any sense of irony.

Pointing the finger at me is a good foil for the red-tops own constant racism, sending up 'Harry the idiot' and subliminally giving a the English pound a good boost. Nothing like the flash of a Nazi uniform on the front page, no matter who is wearing it, to halt any veering towards a single European currency. We might be dependent on the Krauts to keep on bailing out Greece, but no way are we ever going to forget who won the war. Let's hear it for the tabloids, successfully shoring up a bit of good old British Bulldog pride. 'Rule Britannia!'

Of course there's never any mention of the real Nazis in the family, the House of Saxe-Coburg and all that. Grandfather was rather limited in who he could invite to the wedding from his side of the family when he married the our gran. The old family photos, featuring members of his  extended family in brown shirts and SS uniforms made things very awkward, all hush hush and a bit tricky when dealing with diplomatic relations after the war.
The thing is we of the old ruling class know who have remained in power, the right wing may have looked crushed for a while as borders were rearranged, damages paid and economies balanced, but the faces in government are very little changed. The ruling class and especially Royalty is just that, an inherited line of privilege, you don't get rid of us that easily.

Then everyone thinks its so easy being top of the heap, but its true what they say, money can't buy you happiness.
Do you think I have it made?  That I'm the prince of privilege? That I have all the advantages? You just don't understand.

I'm oppressed by the system too you know! I suffer from patriarchy, class prejudice and racism. I'm always having the finger pointed at me, because I have so much. It's horrible. Here I am supposed to be blamed for everything, all the 'isms'! Its not my fault I was born into this situation, its so frustrating, I hate the system too you know, why won't people understand I'm just as trapped by it as they are!?

People are always making such an outcry about how hard things are for them. Poor people, black people, women, the list is endless, Christ! Its so unfair! There they go with their ready made excuses for everything: that I'm making it hard for them, that I'm hogging all the wealth. What in the hell is wrong with them, there's no sense of balance or empathy.  Always trying to paint themselves as the wounded party, always trying to win the advantage in the sympathy game.

Everyones suffering is relative, people don't understand how difficult it is for me being a rich white man, who's grandmother is one of the richest people in the world. The pressure to achieve is incredible. Again its all the assumptions: they don't see how I struggle, that I'm half orphan, and my mother ran off with an shop keepers son. I'm not the one to blame, I'm not doing anything to you!

Political correctness, is another great catch cry in the press. These days even the queen is jumping on the minorities bandwagon, signing 'the commonwealth charter'. It's being touted as a watershed moment of her speaking out for human rights, 'One of the most controversial acts of her reign', oh how late radicalism comes to some. Heralded as a  great feminist and LGBT rights moment, 'the First time Her Majesty has signalled support for gay rights in 61-year reign'. Note the word 'signalled' not once in her entire reign has Her Madge so much as uttered the words 'gay' or 'lesbian' in public.

You would think the queen had personally declared herself in favour of class warfare and started waving the old red and black, or pinning on a suffragette rosette and throwing herself in front of her own horses at the races. The truth its all about spin, she got a live television broadcast out of it and press time is valuable. She knows how to walk the line of political expediency, the woman is smarter than she looks, read that how you will.

Its true that there's no point in bald statements of lefty sentiment, just look where that got Charles. Side-lined to the extreme edges of looney vegetarianism and 'save the environment'. William its clear which game he is playing, marrying Kate and the speedy production of a baby: efficient breeders right off the mark. It's obvious which audience he is appealing to, the bloody traditionalist. The pictures of their engagement. the triumphal tour even featured him being carried around by 'native bearers' atop a bamboo throne   Jesus Christ! He's playing it straight down the line, betting on the conservative vote. No fucking imagination, The Wanker!

Well I'm capable of my own spin doctoring, in this game you have to know how to be subtle, to play a close hand to the point where even you might not be sure of the next character re-invention or plot twist.

The 'Naked Harry' pics saw me transformed overnight from buffoon to righteously defended hero, and a buff looking one at that. Never regret those hours spent in the gym, the glimpse of a well defined torso can do miracles for your press rating. But first of all there was the very loud fight to prevent the images from being published in the Uk, nothing like drumming up a bit of interest in a story to release it's full heat. Then once the pictures were out we saw the construction of a red-top hero: Harry, sexy down to earth man of the people, a human contrast to the stiff formality of the rest of the royal family. Harry, not afraid to have a good time, play with the ladies, let it all hang out, a diamond in the rough prince charming.

I've made sure that my role in the military has been well reported in the press. At first my going into the army was seen as a place to ship off the bad lad of the family, we all know where the best place for our armies of unemployed young people would be, on the front line soaking up a bit of artillery fire. And then just as the traditionalists would have us believe, a bit of national service sorted me out. How I struggled to be allowed to fulfil my role in the army, not wanting to miss out, wrapped up in cotton wool just because I was a royal. I became a fine example of a young man, doing my bit, defending our country.

In the publics eyes I have been transformed and in ways that I wouldn't have dreamed of. Take a walk through London's central gay district in Soho and check out the mural painted on the back wall of 'Man Bar', one of the older gay mens cruising establishments. It features a larger than life replica of one of my nude tabloid pics with a gigantic pink union jack as its background. I have found my place as a gay icon, they love a man in uniform. This is either a massive coup in terms of subversion, my ascension in the gay world as a sex symbol or it's a sign of how conservative and nationalistic a once marginalise group of old queens can become, you decide. Like I said earlier, 'God save the queen!'

Oh the quandries of the doubling of meaning, its a mixed up, messed up, shook up world. Do you know how difficult it is to reconcile being a queer icon and an anarchist revolutionary? It's the post-modern paradox, like Madonna I have to constantly reinvent myself, responding to the times, a prince of pop culture. I'm an artist ahead of my time, a parodic mish-mash of popular memes, growing and shifting according to public opinion and the polls. I am: 'the artist formerly know as prince' (Harry).

Maybe I can be king after all.

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