Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Mallorcan Royal Baby

Have there been any announcements yet as to special royal baby events at the island's Bar Brits? Come on, it's time to get the bunting out of the loft again and put up those framed photos of William and Kate and the Queen. Have the bookies who frequent Bar Brits been giving odds on the name? Are the expatriate knitting circles now frantically knitting one and purling two, having waited for the starting-gun to go off and the appropriate colour to be chosen? 

As a typical impression of most British expatriates is that they are all fervent royalists, one might think that Bar Brits would indeed be flying the flags and waiting on the naming in order to christen special dishes of the day. But this is a misguided impression. An example of reaction to the intrusion of the royal birth's announcement was that which complained about "Coronation Street" being interrupted. Expatriates really do have their priorities sorted out. Soaps come before sprogs, even royal sprogs.

Maybe it is the circles I move in, and I confess that they are lowly ones, but being hacked off by suddenly not knowing whether Tracy and Rob would be blackmailing Carla and Peter would seem to be fairly representative of the general level of indifference. By the way, I had no idea about Tracy and Rob or Carla and Peter; I had to Google "current Coronation Street storyline" in order to find out and so appear as though I know what I'm talking about. I can, however, understand people getting the hump if news of what had been a bump emerging kicking and screaming into the world gets in the way of more important matters. My own annoyance would have been substantial, had Tuffers and Vaughan been cut off in their knocking-Australia prime. As it happened, Steve Claridge being turned off when in full Wayne Rooney discussion mode was something I could live with.

One thing that can be said for the royal birth is that it is the first one to be conducted via social media. As such, one can get a flavour of what the expat, the one who lives in the relatively normal world, thinks about it, and in a word, it is eight letters long, begins with a "b" and ends with an "s". It is perhaps a shame, though, that social media haven't been exploited as they could have been; William tweeting from the maternity ward, Harry doing similar - #wettingthebabyshead - or indeed the whole event being streamed live via YouTube. And if William and Kate were truly a modern face of the British royal family, then they should surely have used text voting to decide the name.

The contrast with the regular media is striking. Whereas social media reveal the expat as reassuringly cynical, the established press indulges in typically obeisant sycophancy and devotes page upon page to what "Private Eye" has summed up rather more neatly - "Woman Has Baby". Despite, in truth, there being very little of any note that can be said, any spurious angle is deemed worthy of column inches. Hence, and as an example, the royal birth follows previous years' occasions - Wills and Kate getting hitched, the Queens' jubilee, the Olympics - in being something to lift and unite a nation suffering the pains of economic hard times. It's all rot of course, but something has to be said, even when it's not worth saying.

But it is an occasion that can justify the bunting being put out and perhaps even street parties being staged in Mallorca in honour of the newborn. There is a danger, though, that there won't be further occasions to keep patriotic fervour on a roll. Attention needs to be paid to ensure that this periodic outpouring of national pride transported to a foreign land continues. Harry, get yourself engaged, mate.

There is, though, the prospect, a few years from now, of the island's expat community going into total bunting overdrive. Just as Charles and Diana came on holiday with the kids, surely K and W will be spending some time, when not changing nappies, looking through some brochures and eyeing up a Mallorcan holiday in the not too distant future. William could ask the old man if he knows of any royal palaces in Mallorca that might be suitable for the ordinary, everyday duke and duchess and family.

And I'll tell you something, it would be bloody great if he were to. Ha, ha, lol, had you all fooled. I've got my bunting out, and it's not coming down until after the Cambridges have been here on their hols.

Any comments to please.

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