End of an Era

For me arriving back in the UK in 1959, after 3 and a half years in Australia, I was struck by the drabness, the oppression and the greyness of the land. In Fremantle we had suffered 9 months of unbroken sunshine. In Britain it was 9 months of unbroken cloud and drizzle. Then Harry Belafonte came into my life singing ‘Oh Island in the Sun, given to me by my Father’s hand, all my days I will sing in praise of your forest, waters, your shining sand.’ While he was singing of Jamaica I was dreaming of Australia. Calypso came to Britain and shook the staid foundations from their grim steadfastness to bring a new colour into our land.

Within 5 short years the Beatles began to sing ‘She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah’, and of Love being all we need, while Carnaby Street took the world by storm with the Kinks singing Dedicated Follower of Fashion, and the Animals telling us ‘We gotta get out of this place, if its the last thing we ever do’. The Rolling Stones asked us enigmatically ‘Have you seen your mother baby, standing in the shadows?’.

The sixties broke the mould. They brought colour and laughter into our lives. Love was abroad and sunshine began to capture the hearts and minds of the common people. Soon cheap flights made holidays in the sun a possibility for everyone. James Bond kept our world secure, while Zulu spoke of tragic histories of days gone by in glorious technicolor, covering a huge screen.

The Queen, whose passing we mourn, fought in the last war. Well perhaps fought is too strong but certainly served in the armed services. Her father reigned for 16 short and troublesome years. 6 of those years were through World War Two.

As the clock turns the tides of history on so the loss of the Queen serves as a break with the 20th century and European empires and the Second World War.

This morning the elemental kingdom spoke to me and told me ‘we are turning the pages of history into the new realm and reign of King Charles the Third.’ It was not a thing being done by human beings, nor the loss of one so great a stateswoman as Elizabeth the Second, it was the Elemental kingdom doing this. When Princess Diana died, so tragically early in the lives of her children, the roads were lined with flowers. The entire flower kingdom came out to mourn her loss. Similarly today we see carpets of flowers left to the Queen. Her loss is mourned not just by the human kingdom, but the trees and birds also sing of her loss. The White Lady of the Rock Park in Llandrindod Wells told me ‘The old Queen’s dead. Long live the King.’ echoed through the Elemental Kingdom. The Elemental Kingdom salutes this extraordinary woman. Truly, Queen of the Fairies.

If her age and era represented anything for me it was the reign of Love and Wisdom. I have often thought of her, not simply as Themis (Justice) but also Sophia, Wisdom. It rang through the music of the 60s and shone through the defeat of tyrants great and small. Her reign saw the end of the death penalty after a tragic case of miscarriage of justice.

Who can say how far her reach has extended? Perhaps only history will show us how important and significant a figure this quiet unassuming woman truly was. We look to her heirs to continue a tradition of joy and industry, accomplishment and achievement, not only in the Arts but in Social Care, the Sciences and Commercial fields as well. Just as Elizabeth’s reign saw the unfoldment of the National Health Service, an inspiration to Nations of the World, so now we see the extension of inclusiveness into Sports as the paralympics, and parallel games of the Commonwealth where both able bodied athletes shared the same field and audiences, with disabled athletes. Women’s football has finally secured a place in the heart of the people, while the destructive qualities of the nuclear family are finally becoming clear to all. Single parents are commonplace. Of children with two sets of adults to guide them. No substitute for the village raising a child. Social Care is in a state of collapse and we speak freely of the crisis.

We stand on the threshold of a new era. A time of change and beauty and love of Nature, that is fostered by the wise actions of the Queen’s offspring. We cannot live as we have done before and change will come with or without our blessing. The Earth herself is recognised as a living entity, and Eden is seen as a time to come, not simply a time long past. Eden, I was told today by Nature, is already established. Now we need to change the commercial exploitation of the land and the creatures we share this world with. We will succeed and, as the New Troubadours sang in the 1970s, ‘Change can come in the twinkling of an Eye’. Thank you Lark Batteau.

God Save the King.

Author: Keith Armstrong

Dance teacher, writer, film-maker, educationalist, enthusiast.

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