10 May 2023


It’s strange to read commentary on the Coronation when it wasn’t even on the radar for me on Saturday; a bit like missing the Biden visit and the indignant rantings about it from some elements of our neighbours’ fourth estate, I missed the Coronation entirely, as we had a First Holy Communion to celebrate in the family.

It seems strange to have passed over so rare an event - the first in the my lifetime, at any rate, and it only being a few years since I’d delighted my mum by meeting and shaking hands with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at a Great War commemoration in London. While I was indeed curious to watch it for historical interest, the immediate and familial won out. Why wouldn’t it, though? Kavanagh had it right, in ‘Epic’:

I have lived in important places, times

When great events were decided; who owned

That half a rood of rock, a no-man’s land

Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.

I heard the Duffys shouting ‘Damn your soul!’

And old McCabe stripped to the waist, seen

Step the plot defying blue cast-steel –

‘Here is the march along these iron stones’

That was the year of the Munich bother. Which

Was more important? I inclined

To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin

Till Homer’s ghost came whispering to my mind.

He said: I made the Iliad from such

A local row. Gods make their own importance.

What’s that line in Gaiman and McKean’s Signal to Noise? ‘There’s no big apocalypse. Just an endless procession of little ones.’ I’m not saying that big far-off events don’t matter, not least as you not being interested in them doesn’t mean they’re not interested in you, but it’s too easy to focus on distant spectacles and miss what matters under our noses.

I may yet catch the highlights, if anybody has a good link.

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