Oh, crap I’m getting that creepy 1980s feeling yet again! A royal wedding exactly thirty years after the apogee of camp that was Charles and Diana’s do back in 1981. The UK was in a bit of a state, to say the least, then too. The Thatcher woman had to take us all to war in order to get at least some of us back on side in those days. Remember the Falklands? Remember too that universal satisfaction with Thatcher didn’t last for very long afterwards. No jobs, you see. Young people, like me and all my mates hit the streets marching for jobs, in support of the striking miners, gay rights, against the hated Poll Tax. Thatcher didn’t listen though and this country, in my opinion, became a richer more competitive but also a much greedier and self-centred country than it had ever been before at the end of that process.
Twenty First century economics are even more scary than those we all wrestled with back in the 1980s. This latest economic crisis is truly global and we all seem to watch helplessly as countries like Greece and Ireland and even France struggle to rein in their spending and at the same time keep people in jobs. Here on the edge of real life where the writers live, it is even, if anything, more scary. Some people (I know it’s hard to believe, but it is true) consider books to be luxury items that they can do without. They don’t buy them and they don’t take them out at libraries. How bonkers is that?
Books are essential and not just because, indirectly, they pay my heating bill. Back in the 1980s when yuppies reigned supreme, when greed was good and when a frightening woman with a handbag had this country by the throat, disappearing into books was one of the few escapes that one had. Of course some of us did derive a lot of pleasure from laughing at yuppies wearing bright red braces talking into mobile phones so big their arms used to ache. But Wuthering Heights it was not.
I am actually disappearing into books more and more as this recession deepens. I’m on Brick Lane by Monica Ali at the moment. I look forward to getting into that world every day especially now that the television has been hijacked by every royal correspondent in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I wish Prince William and his bride all the very best for a long and happy life together. But I don’t need to know what their every move is going to be for the next eight or however many months. I don’t want or need the media to shove all that in my face. Luckily for me, I am working so that takes up most of my time. I also have my family, my friends and my books. What remains is scant and precious and I don’t really want to spend it looking at VT of shoes the various wedding guests and officials may or may not wear.
I hope that Prince William and those advising him have the power and the sense to back away from a huge, costly celebration like his father and mother had back in 1981. When cuts are happening and people are losing jobs, it just isn’t on. Get married and jump into a book (after a reasonable amount of time!) is what I say. Prince William and his wife are very welcome to jump into my next book. A Noble Killing published in January if you’re reading this, William! It’s cheap, it’s deep, it’s thrilling and it won’t cost you anywhere near as much as a honeymoon in Hawaii – or wherever.