Friday, 6 April 2012

the queen in the morning, tom gauld in the evening

Yesterday morning I took the train bright and early to visit York and join the crowds outside York Minster waiting for the Queens 'Maundy Thursday' arrival. There was a blustery spring feeling in the air, a police and dog presence adding a frisson to the atmosphere. A friendly nod from the bobby as I crossed the bridge to the heart of the city. End of the street to the minster, a bored teenager holding a big macdonalds sign, a tubby bloke in a leeds united scarf loudly selling jubilee union jack flags, one sided with the queens image in yellow hat on one side.

I joined the roadside crowd, near the front, anxious children with parents in front of me. Behind a few rows, a very frail lady unable to see yet passive. I spoke loudly to let people know there was an elderly woman who couldn't see and happily she could come closer to the front.

Overall there was an unreal feel to the waiting, flags fluttering from edwardian hotel windows, vans with old well dressed old people ready to recieve the traditional maundy money, slowly entering the minster. a tight knit and electrically red rank of beefeaters, straight out of a jaunty colonial era poster, marching with smart whimsy.

The bells were varied, light and tuneful...a very long wait...then the roar of the crowds further down the street attested to the queen's arrival...

she briefly passed in the royal car, waving, in blue, with prince phillip inconspicuous, princess beatrice opposite, with tiny hat, brown wavy hair looking overexited and beaming, then she met the archbishop, was given a posy, tottered up the steps, waved to the crowds. Then we oiks were shut out to the ancient ceremony.

an agonising hour later, the crows stayed put. frail old woman moved closer to the front, supportive daughter nearby. ten minutes to the queen coming out again, she had to find a seat, and sadly missed seeing the queen, post minster service.

and that was that- the queen drove to the mayor's smart mansion house for lunch. I slowly pushed through crowds to the train via the pasty shop. Chance brought me closer to mansion house, and I saw the queen's car pass again- the royal flag on the bonnet only in view weaving along the street, then stopping, out she gets, stands in the mansion entrance, a tiny speck of blue- waving, the doors close. Our monarch, representing us all, is closed to the world.

Strange realising at the train station that the queen whether we like it or not, are aware of it or not, is something we all share.

And why the unfinished unedited image of a lion tamer here? In the evening I went to see the Illustrator Tom Gauld in Leeds..where he spoke about his new comic. He inspired me to finish unfinised projects. This lion tamer image is one I now want to conclude thanks to Tom Gauld's inspiration.

And watch this space for a comics rough which I'm making over the weekend! It's a treat even in its sketchy form.

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