Once Upon A Time There Were A Billion Peasants

Tracey Barnett ©April 2011

I don’t know what to do first. I could read about the Kiwi bee venom Kate Middleton is using on her face, start inhaling the 16-page wedding souvenir section, or just launch into the “Countdown to a kiss”.

Or, I could take over the ACT Party.

But God-save-the-Queen and the yellow jackets, I just can’t seem to do any of those things today. I am frozen in mild antacid-inducing jitters, concerned about John Key and his wedding seat placement.

Our very own Prime Minister will be sitting spitting distance from The David [Beckham] and Sir Elton John—and what will John Key be wearing? Paua pinstripes. Seafood, for God’s sake. The fishy smell alone might be enough to take out a Corgi. If Victoria Beckham keels over from the fumes, our only hope is she’ll bounce on her implants. The entire Labour caucus is praying the Prime Minister will run to Elizabeth Hurley instead to offer mouth to mouth.

All week I have been praying; don’t let me go to sleep imagining J-Key on the dance floor doing air guitar to a Willow Smith song in the wee hours before the bacon butties are served. What will become of our country?

That prospect, coupled with my huge fear of giant hats, makes tonight’s viewing akin to Scream 4.

Like Everest, I will watch because it is there. Along with every human with estrogen, I will don my jammies and tiara this evening and call for a hush to reign throughout the land, punctuated only by my Tourettes’-like home commentary.

I will be there mystically, in the land of King Arthur and Triffids, fretting over who is babysitting Sir Elton John’s newborn and what he pays per hour.

As a nation, our only saving grace is we can rest easier tonight knowing that stuffed together like Corgis in a pie, our most esteemed New Zealand journalists will be there to report on every trimmed nose hair gracing this seminal moment in history. Thus decimating overseas news reporting budgets for Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Darfur and Brittany Spears’ next comeback tour until 2014.

Nay, now is not the hour to ponder New Zealand’s policy of turning Afghanis over to be brutally tortured. Today is the day to see all Afghans as biscuits.

Incredibly, a billion people will be going to bed wondering the very same question; will the marriage be consummated or conjugated tonight? And if so, which one would be more fun? Because one of them is a soup. Which certainly doesn’t bode well for an heir.

This fractured fairytale will be way better than when Princess Di walked down that aisle in a motherlode of Pavlova that would foreshadow her encrusted and crusty life.

We all thought we were seeing a young innocent marrying her fairytale. Unbeknownst to us then, what we were really seeing was a terrified teenager committing an incredible act of stupidity—or bravery—having just found out her groom was in love with somebody else’s wife. Prince Valiant was marrying an intact hymen—and she was it.

Nobody told her that every marriage is part satire, one way or another.

Yes, millions of us will sit there tonight loving the royals, hating the royals, bored by the royals, but watching none-the-less. Not because we don’t understand the fantasy of giant meringues, or Kings, or weddings, or love, or even happy endings. We will watch because we were all once children—who did believe. This is one rare chapter in a fiction we refuse to sever from the adult reality of dog pooh on the carpet and Sarah Palin for president.

Who can blame us? Kings no longer really rule. Sometimes princesses get bulimia. Heirs talk dirty to their mistress about tampons. Some get caught on tape selling their ex’s services for cash. Others go to parties dressed as Nazis. But not tonight.

In honour of a love as deep as TinTin for Snowy, a vision of beauty more heart-stopping than the frozen tsunami of Donald Trump’s combover, I give you the words of one of mankind’s giants, in love.

From the actual letters of Michelangelo, “You have a face sweeter than boiled grape juice. It looks as if a snail had walked across it, it shines so much. And prettier than a turnip and teeth as white as parsnips, so much so that you could entice the Pope. And eyes the color of a medicinal brew and hair whiter and blonder than a leek so that I’ll die if you give me no relief.”

The man was a genius. Mostly, because we’ll never know his truth from our fiction.

See, once upon a time, there was a beautiful prince and princess who didn’t really know what satire looked like. Yet. And we liked it that way.


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