I have been trying to think of what to write about the queen’s speech yesterday. I know I should try to analyze it in some way, but what can I say? What can one write the day after one’s future wife and her orchestra played the national anthem for the queen at the Christmas speech?
Probably the first thing to note is how proud I am. Truth be told, part of me thinks I’m dreaming all this: first Lyn plays along side Coldplay at the Paralympic closing ceremony, then she is asked to perform the anthem for the queen herself. I appear to be engaged to a megastar! I should explain, of course, that this all came about around two months ago: apparently, her majesty had seen the Paraorchestra at the closing ceremony, and decided to ask them to play for her Christmas address. That is how, one cold winters morning a few weeks ago, Lyn, myself and Dominik found ourselves in a taxi en route to Buckingham palace!
I must say how incredible it was in there: gold, marble and smart red carpets everywhere. The piece was recorded in the grand ballroom, and during the recording I had a chance to look around a bit. You have no idea how much I’ve been looking forward to tell you about seeing the very corridor down which the queen and bond walk in this film! When it was pointed out to me, it made my year! Of course, I had to keep the fact that I had seen it a secret: the details of the speech are supposed to be hush hush! Mind you, I just had to tell my parents.
Now that the piece has aired though, I feel I ought to say a few things about it. It occurs to me that this performance by the Paraorchestra was really rather significant. It is surely evidence of disability arts becoming mainstream: after all, how much more mainstream can you get than playing at the palace? Of course, you could point out that this was not very inclusive, as inclusion would be to have disabled musicians play alongside able-bodied ones. However, I feel this performance is nevertheless a sign of the increased inclusion of disabled artists into thee mainstream, and as such it is very, very significant. We have the Paralympics to thank, of course: it has been widely noted how the Olympics and Paralympics were seen as on an equal footing, and that the Paralympics gave a new life to the widespread perception of disabled people. I find it likely that the Paraorchestra’s performance was another sign of that change in perceptions; it would also add to it. Hopefully seeing the Paraorchestra play at the palace yesterday, as they did at the closing ceremony, helped to change a few more minds about what we crips are capable of. As such I find this performance, short though it was, very significant indeed. Surely having a group of disabled musicians play at such a high-profile event, doing a job normally done by able-bodied musicians, is a huge step forward for disabled people. And I am damn proud that Lyn is part of that.