In no particular order, my snarky observations from Royal Wedding Day:
- You would have thought that Samantha Cameron had shown up buck-naked (as opposed to just bare-headed) the way the press went on and on about this “controversy”
- Apparently it is fair game for the press (the BBC, no less) to slag off the mother of the bride’s usual fashion sense and act all surprised that they weren’t offended by what she was wearing today.
- As long as we’ve started with fashion, what on earth compelled princesses Beatrice and Eugenie to wear such bizarre costumes? And really, those “hats” are more “respectful” than SamCam’s bare head?
- I didn’t love the dress. I thought it made the bride’s chest look strange. There, I said it. Shoot me now.
- Pippa’s dress was awesome though. Although I never seem to get used to little girls in frilly dresses being called “bridesmaids”…
- And oh by the way, with the complete obsession with Britishness that pervaded throughout the run-up to this day (the emphasis on a British bridal designer, British composers for the music, etc.) how on earth was French lace allowed for the Bride?
- Why did her Dad just stand there after “giving her away” (an antiquated part of the ceremony that I hate…)
- Seriously, when there is only one ring you just skip the other half of the typical words associated with the ring part? It felt really asymmetric and just wrong to me.
- I’ve been to an Anglican and British wedding. I dislike all the hymn-singing. Especially in this large of a venue, when it is impossible for there not to be a several second delay separating the organ and the attempts at singing by the guests trying, in vain, to follow the choir. Watching the cameras zoom in on how uncomfortable everyone clearly was during the hymns was sort of fun, though.
- All of the overhead cameras were a bit creepy with all the cleavage shots. That view was also pretty harsh for the groom, whose bald spot is shinier than I realized.
- The strange British speech pattern that gives us “pasta” pronounced as “PASS-ta” instead of “PAWS-ta” also gives us a rather interesting pronunciation of “mall” that I had not heard before and did not see coming, given how “bath” and similar words are pronounced here.
- I really did not realize that “Do not be haughty” was in the bible… I need to check what translation that was.
- I miss “you may kiss the bride” and no, that balcony scene did not make up for its lack.
- British royal titles are really confusing. Apparently you have to be born a princess, if you marry a prince you take his name (!) like Princess Michael of Kent. Since “Princess William” sounds silly, we’ll be hearing “Duchess of Cambridge” a lot from now on…
- The whole “Jerusalem” thing must really have confused the Americans watching the broadcast. I’ve been here nearly five years and I’m still sort of dumbstruck by the entire thing. I would have loved to listen to the American commentary trying to explain that one to the American public… (Did anyone hear any commentary on this?)
- Have you ever really paid attention to the lyrics of “God Save the Queen”? Not the least repetitive song I’ve ever heard…
- Given how excellent the TfL tea-towel design is, was anyone else disappointed to hear “I will” instead of “I do”? (And yes, that is the only royal wedding souvenir I bought.)
- Back to the British vs French thing again, my apologies, but why is the Prince’s middle name “Lou-ee” and not “Lou-iss”?
- What’s Kate’s last name now? I know officially the Prince is supposed to be some double-barrelled concoction that includes “Windsor” but he seems to go by “Wales” all the time. Kate Wales? Kate Cambridge? What?
- I think I figured out why everyone wanted to watch this. Normally when celebrities get married it’s not televised, and if it is then it’s usually really tacky (The Bachelorette or some bad E-TV special with D-list celebrities). So it’s not that often that a nice wedding gets shown on the telly.
- You have to feel for all the people sitting in the back forty who could not see a thing.
OK I’ll stop. It was an interesting sight to behold, to say the least. And no, I never once even considered going into central London to fight the crowds.
(Fun fact: spell-check just corrected my errant typing of “hooplah” to the clearly far more sensible “hoopla”…)
Ah April, I hardly knew ye. I have now returned from my four weeks in the US, which was divided just over half work and just under half fun. That said, some of the work was actually pretty fun, so I can’t really complain about it. It was a total whirlwind, in part because I travelled all over the country, visiting South (Miami) and North (Boston), East (New York City) and West (Las Vegas). Not to mention points in-between, including three fabulous days at the Grand Canyon.
Somehow no one in our nuclear family (parents, sister and me) had ever seen the Grand Canyon, whereas we had all been to the Great Wall of China and we’ve all spent time in major European capitals–for a group of reasonably well-travelled people, we have missed huge sections of our own country. So the highlight of the trip for me was the hilarious “family vacation” done approximately eighteen years since the last time we had a family vacation (in my last year at home and in high school). We rented an SUV and drove out to the canyon from Vegas, taking in a few amazing foodie stops (Nobu before the Canyon and Mesa Grill after the canyon and before leaving Las Vegas). We played CDs of old road-trip music from the era of the last family vacation, including ABBA and our home-made “Monster Ballads” mix made up of classic slow songs from hair metal bands. We all commented on why it was that we could remember the lyrics to all of this music from several decades ago, but struggle to remember things that we really need to remember these days.
Now I should point out that my family, growing up, was not what you would call “outdoorsy” and so a visit to a National Park to do some hiking was a bit of a departure for us. I admit to being part of the driving force for this, as I have spent more and more time doing such things in the last decade. We are all keen walkers and so “hiking” was not really that much of a departure, although the 10% average grade on the vertical ascents up the canyon walls were pretty intense. Overall in two big hikes we did 9 miles and just over 3000 ft down and back up again. It was awesome. If anything, it made me want to turn around and go back and do more canyon hiking ASAP.
After the trip, I bought and devoured the Ken Burns National Parks documentary set. If ever there was a reason to feel proud to be an American, that is definitely a good one.
As usual, I took a few hundred photos and am struggling to sort through them for the best ones, but I didn’t mind this one at all:
And now, gearing up for 48 hours of mass royal wedding hysteria. I did not come back to the UK on purpose to be “on time” for the wedding, it just happened that my US trip’s logical conclusion fell early this week. Returning “home” to a few days of work and a long weekend with two bank holidays also seemed like a good idea in terms of beating jet-lag. But as for the wedding itself… So much great commentary has been written that I hardly know where to begin. I suspect that should be the subject of another post…
Posted in America, Britain, family, holidays, photography, time, tourism, travel, wedding, whimsy, work, world
I have been fairly honest, blog-style, recently in discussing the fact that I have recently discovered that my ex-husband (back in America, where I am not) just got remarried and my discovery of this information came thanks to the wonders of the internet. Imagine my surprise then, when I discovered that one of my favorite Indy Rock Star artists had recorded a song called “I Google You”:
The lyrics are here.
Said Indy Rock Star is Amanda Palmer (twitter @amandapalmer) and she is my current muscial obsession (anyone who can write lyrics like, “who needs love when there’s Southern Comfort and who needs love when the sandwiches are wicked and they know you at the Mac store” AND sing them in a catchy tune that I cannot get out of my head wins it in my book!)
The Google-y lyrics were written by her fiancee, the amazing writer Neil Gaiman (twitter @neilhimself) who happens to have a kid that works at Google. He also manages to beat out Stephen Fry in some polls of “British superstars who tweet” even though he’s spent the last few decades living near my home town of Minneapolis. It’s all so web 2.0 and so romantic. (And I’ve been sucked into it totally for the last few months but we won’t go there!)
The bottom line is as such: Amanda Palmer is awesome, and her music is worth listening to. I need to stop Google-stalking my ex-husband, although I keep writing about it because I just found out he got remarried and I even managed to score a photo of the happy couple. And Neil Gaiman is more than worth a read, although most people know that. And Amanda Palmer is awesome, and her music is worth listening to. I’ll stop now.
First of all, if you live in the UK may I highly recommend the online booking facility available for Toni and Guy and Essensuals salons? This is so cool. You have to have been at the salon and be “in their system” to get registered, but then you can book haircuts online (and thus avoid the inevitable difficulties associated with accents and telephone calls… or is that just me?) So I did this and had my haircut today. Chopped. Hacked back to a chin-length bob from half-way down my back. I was tired of it taking so long to dry. My instructions to the lovely gentleman who cut my hair was to only leave it long enough to get the top half into a ponytail for the gym. Else it was going to have to go, and go it did. I left piles of hair on the floor of my local Essensuals, hooray!
So expat awesome surprise number one was that my randomly-selected hairdresser (that is, the one who was available for a cut after noon on a Saturday!) was an expat, he was from Vancouver. So North American bonding a-plenty. For once I actually enjoyed chatting while my hairs were falling to the ground; there was none of the stilted small-talk that I’ve experienced with the British girls who have cut my hair. And I suspect it’s both things–with one really important exception (Estetica in St. Paul, Minnesota) my best haircutters have always been men. And yes, nearly all of them were gay. And that brings us to expat awesome surprise number two; when chatting with the lovely Canuck about long term plans, he said “Well my husband is British so I’m here for the long haul” and I remembered “Woo-hoo, I live in a country where a gay man can say that!” Yesssssssss. Good things about England indeed. OK, fine, technically it’s civil partnerships but still…
Given this awesome experience (not to mention a pretty good haircut) I followed my lovely readers’ advice and left a generous (a.k.a. American-style) tip. Although the link URL reminds me why I needed a haircut so badly… has it really been seven months since I’ve had my locks shorn? No wonder I was looking such a right mess. Oh well, I’m sure now with the ability to book a haircut online, I’m actually more likely to go back. And look for my good Canadian friend.