Monday 1 May 2023

Mayday, Mayday

May Morning at Magdalen Tower, by Holman Hunt, in the Birmingham Art Gallery

Happy May Day to you all

The event starts early at 6 a.m. with the Magdalen College Choir singing a hymn, the Hymnus Eucharisticus, from the top of Magdalen Tower, a tradition stretching back over 500 years. 
The choir traditionally also sings a madrigal, Now Is the Month of Maying, 
following prayers for the city led by the Dean of Divinity. Large crowds of both students and Oxford residents normally gather under the tower, along the High Street, and on Magdalen Bridge. Students and fellows of Magdalen College gather in the college cloisters and on top of the other towers within the college grounds. 

This is then followed by general revelry and festivities including Morris dancing in Radcliffe Square between the University Church and the Radcliffe Camera, impromptu music, etc., for a couple of hours from around 6.15am onwards. There is a party atmosphere, despite the early hour. In fact, in some years there are all-night balls the night before, so some people, especially students, are in formal attire.

There is a modern tradition of students jumping from Magdalen Bridge, a tradition mocked by Max Beerbohm in his 1911 dark satire of Oxford life: Zuleika Dobson. The eponymous heroine turns the all-male Oxford University into love-struck fools as the undergraduates fling themselves into the river to die, aesthetically, of course, for love of their femme fatale. It ends with Zuleika boarding a train for Cambridge, which also has a river.

During the covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, May Morning was hosted online in 2020 and 2021. After two years of lockdown, May Morning began again in 2022. Approximately 12,500 people crowded the streets to welcome the return of the festivities.

MAY MORNING by VERA BRITTAIN The rising sun shone warmly on the tower, Into the clear pure Heaven the hymn aspired Piercingly sweet. This was the morning hour When life awoke with Spring's creative power, And the old City's grey to gold was fired. Silently reverent stood the noisy throng; Under the bridge the boats in long array Lay motionless. The chorister's far song Faded upon the breeze in echoes long. Swiftly I left the bridge and rode away. Straight to the little wood's green heart I sped, Where cowslips grew, beneath whose gold withdrawn The fragrant earth peeped warm and richly red; All trace of Winter's chilling touch had fled, And song-birds ushered in year's bright morn.
(starts well, drifts off into cowslippiness)

The Backlash. 

Age cannot wither nor custom stale our infinite contempt for the House of Windsor. I honestly think that these shining ones have no idea of the depth of hostility felt towards them, their institution, their greed and their flexible morality. Because they are surrounded by people who fawn upon them, bow low, give them flowers and wave flags in their faces, in a self-reinforcing, self-affirming loop, they really don't realise that they continue to hang onto power, privilege and untold wealth by the skin of their teeth and think that they can continue to shit in the faces of the poor with impunity, sharing the great latrine of state with the political sleaze-classes: "I say, do pass one the royal bog roll, Groom of the Stool, or the hair of some peasant boy will do, but only if it has been shampooed in royal elixir."
The Mail online is reporting today that both Buckingham Palace and Lambeth Palace were clearly taken aback yesterday by the strength of feeling provoked by the invitation to the people to swear allegiance to His Majesty, and to his heirs and successors - like Prince Gormless, Prince Nazi, the Grand old companion of paedophiles the Duke of York and all their brats and progeny. It all played splendidly into the hands of Republicans and critics of the ceremony generally, sparking an outpouring of comment and criticism on social media. 
Labour MP Clive Lewis told the Guardian that he thought the proposed oath would be 'either unwelcome or ignored by many'.
Republic, the anti-monarchist organisation, said it was 'an offensive and tone-deaf gesture that holds the people in contempt'.

The plan for the ceremony is that the King's Mistress of the Tampax, who was never-going-to-be-called-Queen-but-now-is, will become the first consort in history to be anointed with Holy Oil in full public view. While Charles will be oiled behind a screen in order to protect the solemnity of the moment, Camilla Parker-Bowles-Windsor has dispensed with the canopy previously used by sovereign's wives such as The Queen Mother and Queen Mary.

And all that fire-trucking about on top of Magdalen Tower this morning? It's what they do, down South.

1 comment:

mongoose said...

"Charles will be oiled behind a screen..."

May the Heavens be praised, mrs i.