6 May 2023 – the day Britain will go back in time about 1,000 years to find some ancient traditions that nobody knows the exact meaning of.
The day someone dressed in old garbs will place an old crown on the head of a man, to reinforce the position he has had for the last eight months. Not a position he had to study for – he didn’t have to write out a CV and a job application, sit through first and second interviews and suffer through rejection after rejection until he got his dream job. He just had to bide his time and wait for his birth right.
Is the Monarchy outdated?
Not everyone agrees with the system. Indeed, there are many who feel that in this day and age the Monarchy is outdated and should be replaced by an elected head of state. Someone who can be replaced after ‘x’ number of years. Someone who gets chosen to represent us, instead of being born to do so. Someone even who gets the job on merits, instead of by a fluke of genetics.
And there are others who love the tradition, keeping old habits alive, honouring a family and spending money on them, simply for who they are. There will never be a consensus on a monarchy.
And the financial side is just as controversial, £100mn of the country’s money goes towards the Coronation. Of course, this is but a drop in the ocean compared to the billions we lost on faulty PPE, the Track and Trace app, Liz Truss’ disastrous budget and all the other shenanigans. But still it could be put toward a pay rise for nurses and junior doctors, to name a worthy cause.
The Coronation playlist
All that aside, on 6 May there will be a big ceremony to put a crown on a person’s head. And with that come celebrations, street parties, an extra bank holiday, and a Spotify list, with songs that are picked especially for the day. Songs that are supposed to be favourites of the new King.
The list was 27 songs long. But just this week, it was reduced to 26 songs, because a singer of one of the groups on the list was found to have expressed anti-monarchy sentiments. So, his songs are longer recommended for staunch royalists.
This made me decide to put together an alternative song list. One for those who may not be the biggest supporters of ancient ceremonies that cost a lot of money and don’t really bring a great deal of benefit to the country as such. One that favours artists who may feel the way I do, or just wrote songs that I can appreciate on such a day.
An alternative playlist
1/ Number one on my list has to be The Proclaimers, and their epic song 500 miles. The version with the cast of Dr Who is a great singalong that you will keep singing the rest of the day!
2/ Elton John. His rendition of Candle in the Wind touched the whole world all those years back, and his decision not to perform at this year’s Coronation only increases my respect for him.
Here is the original version:
3/ Spice Girls. Not my all-time favourite group maybe, but they did turn down the chance of singing for the King. I would nominate their song Who Do You Think You Are? for reasons that should be obvious to anyone just reading the title.
4/ Ed Sheeran declined as well. Another person with principles. The song I would pick from his opus to put on a Bylines coronation playlist is Supermarket Flowers. It is a good, sentimental song. Many people have loved and lost their mother, and the line “Dad always told me ‘don’t cry when you’re down’” reminds me of a funeral procession all those years ago.
5/ Robbie Williams. Another one who was otherwise engaged and could not free himself for something like a Coronation. The song would be Never Forget by Take That.
“Never forget where you’ve come here from
Never pretend that it’s all real
Someday soon this will all be someone else’s dream
This will be someone else’s dream”
Because is it real, all the pomp and circumstance? Does it really have any meaning in this day and age? No, it doesn’t.
6/ Adele – I drink wine
Because I like a glass of wine. Simple, and Adele deserves a place on the playlist for not being able to free herself up for the Coronation.
Besides, some of the previous songs will have made me a bit emotional, so I can do with a glass. And the text is good too:
“How can one become so bounded
by choices that somebody else makes?”
Again, fitting the occasion.
7/ One Direction– Another world
They used to be every girl’s favourite, and now we’re still too busy to attend the party.
And their line “You know I’ll take you to another world” – that is what this Coronation will do, take many people to another world for a few hours, a world of time gone by, of kings and queens and pageantry.
But not my world.
8/ Kylie Minogue
The last one on our list who was invited to perform and declined.
The song we will listen to is The Locomotion. Not because of the special lyrics or anything like that, just because this is the song that will always be Kylie’s to us, the song everybody gets up for at weddings and birthday parties, and it swings.
9/ Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen
A bit of good rock is a welcome change. And their view on the (or any?) Monarchy is pretty obvious.
10/ Claudio Monteverdi – The Coronation of Poppea
An opera, classic and timeless. It describes how Nero’s mistress, Poppea, managed to get crowned empress after Nero’s first wife Claudia died.
Any semblance to more contemporary history is of course pure coincidence.
11/ Stereolab – French Disko
“Though this world’s essentially an absurd place to be living in”
The perfect description of the day.
12/ The Housemartins – Flag Day
“It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean
Try shaking a box in front of the queen
‘Cause her purse is fat and bursting at the seams
It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean”
13/ Eternal Planes – And we rise
“Amid the hue and cry you have to hold on harder to the truth”
Well if you tune in to the main event, there won’t be a lack of dinosaurs there.
14/ Seo Linn – Óró ‘sé do bheatha ‘bhaile
“Your fine land in possession of thieves…
And … will rout the foreigners”
Needless to say not everyone who is from Irish descent will be cheering the new king.
15/ Go West – The King is Dead
“The king is dead, the show is over
We came a long way, just to turn around”
Sort of accurate, if we take King as gender neutral.
16/ Lily Savage and Barbara Dickson – I know him so well
Of course we had to have Lily Savage in the list. And a beautiful song, great performance.
“He needs his fantasy and freedom
I know him so well”
‘Nuff said really, right?
17/ Boney M – Belfast
“When the country rings the leaving bell
Still contemporary after all these years”
Okay, we don’t have 26 or 27 on the list. But in our defence, The Coronation of Poppea is an opera, so we cover enough time to last the official out!