To see in another new year, and yet more unstoppable juddering along the conveyor belt that takes us all towards an inevitable doom, I’ve sort of half been watching Harry & Meghan on Netflix. Oh come on, you must have heard of them. It is described as a ‘limited series’ and in many respects that’s exactly what it is: emotionally, empathetically and intellectually about as limited as you can get. In fact it’s more or less as limited in terms of instructional value to the human race as Cobra Kai; only it doesn’t have the humour or the punch ups and so if you’re the kind of cretin that has just signed up for Netflix solely to watch Harry & Meghan then you only have yourself to blame. I notice that the show has already dropped out of the Netflix Top 10, probably not because the audience has become more selective but because it is dull. And a bit shit. All that money to make a bit shit and dull. Which is what makes it so strangely, worryingly gripping. Not that anyone will ever watch it twice.
Anyway, I’m up to the bit where H & M, as they affectionately call each other, have just got married and are still almost as popular as you wouldn’t believe. There are lots of ecstatic scenes of them walking amongst vast shoals of mindless minnows, waving in a distinctly half-arsed manner at walls of plastic flags and slack jaws akimbo. For a while they could almost do no wrong. And then it all started to go ever so slightly pear shaped. What followed has been a PR disaster on a biblical scale. In truth no-one has come off well: the royal family, H&M, the press, the public; they’ve all taken a hit to their credibility and the sanity of their judgement, and while some amongst us will defend the corner they believe to be right I have come to realise that this might just be a huge waste of time and energy. Instead why don’t we just scrap it all? Why don’t we starve H&M and all the rest of the royal bunch their public oxygen and instead entertain ourselves with something with a little more dignity, a little more taste. Like a walrus.
A walrus, you see, is never going to be offered millions of dollars to make a Netflix limited series. A walrus won’t need a team of security or an interview with Oprah. Nor, to be fair, will a walrus ever become heir to the throne or impose antiquated rules about how to open a boiled egg or which hand a servant must use to wipe their soft backside. But what a walrus will do, apparently, is turn up at various locations around the country and happily be photographed for prolonged periods of time. Moreover, a walrus will be prepared to pose in a number of revealing positions for the press and a walrus won’t ask for a penny of the tax payers money in return. And a walrus may create an awful lot of hot air but at least it won’t believe for a second that it’s come from anywhere but its arsehole. Now that’s the kind of down to earth creature that I’d like to see bulking out the ruling classes of Great Britain.
Our current walrus of choice – Thor – has been quite the headline grabber this silly season. It has slowly made its way around the coast of our shrivelled isle, stopping off at various hotspots to bask in its own filthy reverence and show off to crowds of adoring morons who chatter amongst themselves – “gosh, it’s bigger than I thought it would be”, “how big did you think it would be?”, “I don’t know, I’ve never seen one”, or, “can we have a walrus?”, or, “what’s a walrus?”, or “why do we have to live in Scarborough?”. There is some irony in apparent fact that we’ll happily slag off and troll and throw eggs at current and ex members of the royal family and yet give us a large Arctic mammal with silly teeth to gawp at and we even cancel New Year fireworks just in case it might get flustered and take a shit on the jetty. Truly, and bizarrely, in 2023 it seems that to be treated like an animal can be a far, far better prospect than to be treated like a human being. Who’d have thought?
Of course, it’s all relative. True, it was in Scarborough harbour that Thor really drew the big crowds, the sort of crowds that would normally befit a royal visit, but then it is very likely that watching a walrus belch its way through an afternoon is about an exciting a day out that most Scarborough residents will ever get to enjoy. And when he landed in Blythe yesterday it was such a momentous moment the council probably suggested they get a commemorative golden statue erected pronto. However, and I say this with not a little hint of sadness, if Thor had turned up on the steps of Buckingham Palace when the Queen was lying in state then very few onlookers would have batted an eyelid. Once the press found out where H&M were hidden in California it appears they were treated to a helicopter show that would have put Apocalypse Now to shame, which can’t have been nice. But on the other hand they seem to have spent most of the last three years filming themselves as well, something Thor has neither the inclination or opposable flippers to ever contemplate. Ultimately I’d rather be the walrus, but with H&M’s money.
And that’s it. 2023 gets off to a roaring start with a post that doesn’t even know what it’s trying to say. By now Thor is probably drifting off the east coast of Scotland. He may opt to smoke a load of crack in Inverness or to drag himself a bit further inland and give Nicola Sturgeon a nice big fishy burp in the face. His life is one of careless abandon and abundant slothery. He will never have the wealth that some crave, or the wherewithal to do anything with it, and that must be wonderful for him, but he does seem to enjoy the attention. Personally I would never bother to go to Scarborough for anything, but if a walrus, and especially Thor, was sunning themselves at the bottom of my road I’d probably take a quick peek; especially now that I’ve finished watching Harry & Meghan and subsequently feel quite sad for the six hours of my life I’ll never get back. Their existence must be very odd: every day is clearly filled with a lot of their own brand of hot air, but at least they are drawn together by their shared love of her and the attention they don’t want but can’t live without. That said I bet they don’t get that many walruses down in Montecito, so how great can their lives really be?
G B Hewitt. 03.01.2023