Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee: Who thought singing Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline was a good idea? – Laura Waddell
Even supermarkets are becoming creepy about it. I had to walk into Tesco between garish purple banners draped over the security sensors bearing the words “happy” and “glorious”.
It exactly chimes with the nation’s current cost-of-living anxiety. A sea of disposable Union Jack tat has appeared. Flags. Hats. Paper plates. Face paint. Cupcake toppers. I repeat: hats.
In Scotland, where not many street parties seem to be being planned, little dent has been made in these well-stocked cardboard display units, little shrines to the red, white and blue of British nationalism.
BBC Radio 2 has taken it upon itself to encourage the nation to sing Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond, because the audience of Zoe Ball’s show has chosen it as the most fitting “uplifting” and “happy” song, describing it as “a song of togetherness”.
Ordinarily the song is inoffensively naff, the kind of sludge that might trickle out of tinny speakers to sloshed crowds at karaoke nights, weddings, or No 10 get-togethers.
On the surface it’s an odd choice. Who, after all, is Caroline, and what has she done with Lizzy? But screw it, why not get hyped-up countrymen to sing a song of dedication to a random woman who doesn’t even know who we are?
It’ll make little difference, after all. The next time you are tempted to make fun of North Korea’s all singing and dancing shows of choreographed loyalty to leadership, remember the eternally cringeworthy BBC News headline “Nation asked to sing Sweet Caroline for the Queen”.
There are few songs less likely to inspire revolution. It’s more likely, in this context, to inspire mild confusion.
One wonders if the royals themselves will get in on the act, amusing themselves with the sycophancy of the commoners. I imagine William and Kate sucking up by changing the lyrics to “Sweet grandmama”.
No takers for the bridge? This fortnight no one wants to be reminded of Prince Charles waiting in the wings, so he’s muted. Where is Andy when you need him? “Hands, touching hands…” the song rises to a spirited crescendo, “reaching out, touching me, touching you”. Awkward. Who thought this was a good idea again?
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