The Anti-Royal Variety Show
The Green Room Manchester - 1st June 2002

Some of us still remember the days when there were street party for Charles and Di's Wedding and the whole community came together as one in a show of goodwill. Of course, we were aged about 5 at the time, didn't have a choice in it and were too young to know any better. Fast forward to 2002 and if we are to believe what we read in the tabloids the whole country has literally been stock piling up No Frills genetically modified sausage rolls for the Biggest Street Party the country has ever seen.

Of course there will be a few that want to watch Paul McCartney and Will Young play the Palace, but there will also be millions more that don't give a damn about the Royals and will simply watch the England match. And then there's us - the people that want to point out the sheer ridiculousness of it all and actually hold an Anti-Royal or Abolish The Monarchy event.

The Anti-Royal Variety Show at the Green Room in Manchester is hosted by performance poet Chloe Poems and is actually a benefit in aid of the Socialist Alliance. I first became aware of Chloe Poems about 2 years ago through cult icon Divine David, but surprisingly this was actually the first time I have seen the Gingham Queen in person. Poem’s is the sort of person you really have to see to fully understand…the intensity in which she delivers her poems, especially tonight with the projected image of the Queens head behind her just seems perfect. Featuring poetical works of genius about the People’s Figurehead such as "The Queen Sucks Nazi Cock" and "The Queen Is Satan’s Robot" she then moves onto the Queen Mother (Whore), Princess Di (Crash! Bang! Wallop! What A Picture!), Prince Harry (Harry, King Of Smack). The latter set 25 years in the future where Harry is homeless in Manchester with a Smack habit, which developed of course from that very first spliff. Lest not forget "Licking Prince Charles' Arse" - an attack on the so called people's comic and anti-authority figure Ben Elton who happens to be hosting the Queen's Jubilee Party this very weekend

Holden Caulfield is an absolute genius and the most acutely aware poet since Patrick Jones released "Fuse". Flipping Manchester on its head and drawing out issues that never ever get talked about in the public domain. Its all well and good designing a new millennium Piccadilly Gardens in aid of the international visitors travelling to Manchester for the Commonwealth games, but then look at the fact that the council failed to mention it was in fact simply a front for a brand new office block in the centre of the City. Holden Caulfield talks about the side of Manchester that never gets shown on high-gloss drama’s such as Queer As Folk and Cutting – a world where on each corner another desperate girl walks the streets while her father lies at home with a needle in his arm. A real voice speaking out within a tangled web of mis-information.

Backed up with Johnny D from I Am Kloot who's very good and Magic Dave, who to put it kindly didn't go down at all well, it shows that Manchester has moved on from the days of Madchester and the baggy culture that we've been clasping to for the past decade. Were no longer loved up and off our heads on E's (well, maybe some of us are), but aware of what's happening more than ever and with the mainstream offering us nothing were set for the biggest cultural revolution since punk.

The Anti Royal Variety Show was just one of several similar events around the country (I for one know that Chumbawamba held an event up in Leeds) and its time that the ordinary folk got a platform. With this air of patriotism, the media whitewash and the fact that the BNP won seats in the recent elections there's a real sense that there will be further race conflicts like the ones last year in Burnley and Oldham if we simply sit back and be complacent. If these types of events can at least voice an alternate opinion and change one persons view then they have done their job.

Alex McCann

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