Every so often, there is bizarre jolt of inanity that overtakes the country, forcing me to question whether this is really reality, or hallucinations brought on by a poor diet.
Last year we had the Olympics, which we all eventually had to admit were enjoyable. What was less enjoyable is how dirty we all felt after a month of the incessant mantra of ‘WOO TEAM GB, WHAT RECESSION?? THIS COUNTRY’S GREAT!’ Now the sad but predicatable aftermath of looking down the back of the sofa and under the bed for the ‘Olympic Legacy’. But we had it minute ago – didn’t we? DIDN’T WE?
Then there’s the peculiar habit of reporting on weather. The royal sprog is the only thing stopping every news channel from greeting us with constant declarations of ‘It’s incredibly hot at the moment. Look at all these people trying to find shade in a park.’ But you can be sure that as soon as the winter months roll around, we’ll have plenty of ‘It’s snowing. Everything has ground to a halt. ‘
The royal baby has, in my eyes, taken the crown (lol) of irritating incessant news coverage when there’s clearly more important things going on.
The BBC news channel – and I imagine all the others – have been unable to actually get into the private hospital where Kate Middleton is undergoing her sweaty ten hour labour, so they can’t give us any indication of how far she has dilated or what she is wearing. So instead, they have gone all out and thrown everything they can at trying to cover up the main fact abundantly clear to everyone, i.e. they are reporting absolutely nothing.
All day the bottom of the screen has been imprinted with the words ‘ROYAL BABY’, which led me to wonder what titles they would give if they decided to 24/7 news reporting of all babies. Maybe ‘BT ENGINEER BABY’? ‘OFFICE PARTY BABY’? Beneath that there was ‘Duchess travelled by car to the hospital’ which was interesting, because I really wondered how she got there. I thought she might have travelled by donkey, but then I remembered that was a different baby.
We’ve had the images of the top of a building by someone who was originally really excited at the idea of going up to film stuff in a helicopter, but now just wants to throw themselves out of it. We’ve had a multiple locations, such as the correspondent reporting from Kate’s home town, which made it seem like that was exciting – like reporting from Godric’s Hollow where some serious shit went down – but no, it was just a man in a posh village talking about nothing.
Let’s not forget the random people that have been ‘plucked’ out of the crowd to talk about how excited they are. Now, I don’t know if this is a conspiracy, or if these people are putting on accents, but there were two perfectly normal looking twenty somethings from Australia who said they had come over for the birth. Either Australia is shit, or someone paid them to say that. I refuse to believe that two incredibly sane people would travel thousands of miles to stand outside a building while someone is giving birth inside a totally different building. I bet they were just filling time before a matinee performance of Wicked.
But it’s the reporters have been the highlight. They’re a hilarious mix of people who are grasping at straws so violently that you can see the desperation in their eyes, or so bitter about the fact they are talking about nothing in a suit on a day of 30 plus degree heat that they just don’t care any more.
One reporter was genuinely serious when he said, ‘Diana – her spirit is here do you think?’ Another pushed the boundaries when she asked, ‘So, what is the process for the royal gynecologist?’ One reported back to the studio with the line, ‘Patience – I’m not going to say it’s running out – but we could do with some news,’ which seemed to translate basically as ‘KATE JUST HURRY THE FUCK UP AND GIVE BIRTH THIS IS SO TEDIOUS’.
The star, however, has been Simon McCoy, who has made no bones about the fact that he is pissed off that this was his assignment for the day. He signed off with, ‘We’ll be back with plenty more later – none of it news’, and later, ‘Until then, we’re going to be speculating on this royal birth with no facts to hand’.
His derision reached new levels when he began to read out complaints from viewers, such as ‘What a load of sycophantic rubbish’. He was honest – but if he’d been more honest, he would have just come right out and said, ‘Please can we stop talking about Kate’s cervix?’
The Queen has stated that if the birth happens after 10.30pm, they should just let her know in the morning because she wants a good kip. She’s super chilled about it. So, basically, if the Queen has more of a life than you, you should be worried. And I agree with Liz to be fair – just wake me up when it’s over.
I struggle with this rolling royal baby coverage for a few reasons. One is the obvious reason that there are much more important things going on that I would much rather know about.
Another is that when pundits are being paid to come out with things like, ‘This is a great time to be young and British,’ I really want to change my views on state subsidised education.
I also hate the way that Kate is being spoken about – for similar reasons to Hilary Mantel when she gave that talk and everyone decided she was a right moany old cow. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel sorry for Kate and her cushy life, but to hear a woman’s pregnancy spoken about like Kate Humble’s coverage of Springwatch lambing season is beyond disturbing. In Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, Pope Joan speaks about giving birth in the street and how she heard lowing sounds like a cow, coming from her own mouth. It’s apt for that reference to be positively medieval, when we still have people talking about Kate and her ovaries like she’s a prime cut of meat from the market.
Kate’s acute morning sickness might have passed – I know this because each stage of her illness was reported in the simultaneously minute and vague detail we’re seeing so much of – but thanks to this Royal Baby Fever, I think I’m going to be throwing up all day.