The English turn Queuing into a spectator sport!!

We all know that the English are renowned for thier ability to queue, having invented the concept in 1662 :slight_smile: - as George Mikes is often quoted - “An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one.”

The Queen Mother lies in state in Westminster Hall, and the English are queuing to pay thier respects. Up to 10 or 11 hours at some points over the weekend. As if this was not remarkable enough, there are people gathering to watch the queue go by! I work around the corner from Westminster and, since I needed to go to the bank anyway, I thought I would trundle along and have a look at the preparations for the funeral at the Abbey. Banking done, Abbey inspected and preparations acceptably underway, I head back to the office and past the queue winding its way from the Houses of Parliment to Lamberth Bridge (then across LB, back to Westminster Bridge, and on past the London Eye as far as the eye could see…up to 3 miles long). There, at the foot of the bridge, with a nice view toward the HoP is a little cluster of people, avidly watching the queue wind its way into the distance…

I guess that they might have had a valid reason for standing there, but it made me wonder what would be next - Queuing as an Olympic Sport maybe? It would be one way for the British to increase thier tally!! :wink:

Ah, yes… remember the Tutankhamen exhibition? Or the Pompeii exhibition? (Both at the BM). We stood in line for hours at those, and that was to see dead foreigners, for cryin’ out loud. How could we possibly do any less for the dear old Queen Mum, eh?

And when queuing takes its rightful place amongst Olympic sports, I shall be there. With my folding chair and my Thermos of weak tea at the ready.

I love the fact that the size of the queue was the lead item on the 6 o clock news.

“And today, hundreds of people stood in a queue. Here are the people in the queue.”

“Look mum! People queueing!”

I use public transport most days and judging how people do it in Nottingham, queuing is a dying art.

The queues would be twice as long if they used a clever system of pullys to make her sit up unexpectedly, wave and shout slogans.

Hell, I might even go over for that!

Spectators: “Let us give thanks for this woman’s life, who served crown and country for so many years.”
Queen Mum: “Gotcha Ya!”

I was thinking more along the lines of getting some sponsorship to put into public funds.

Just think of the money they could make if she got up and sang the “Chicken Tonight” song

Stop it, stop it, please Francesca. I shall have an asthma attack in a minute. Too much laugh, too much funny.

Well I’m not a Royalist. I couldn’t care less about the Queen Mother, alive or dead. I fact I’m posting this (quietly) during the two minutes’ silence at work.

But all the same, I don’t remember the length of the queues for the books of condolence last September generating this much sarcasm. Presumably the people filing past the QM’s coffin are doing it for reasons of conscience, so it seems like a bit of a cheap shot to make fun of them in this way. I mean, normally, when you pass by a stranger’s funeral do you gawp through the cemetery railing and think “What is it with these British and their queues? It’s only a stiff.” Are you really so cynical that you don’t believe in anything yourselves? Or is it just other people’s feelings you think are comical?

I don’t mean to be a killjoy. Just a thought.

I have to share the following with you (from the popbitch message board, based in London):


Because Sept. 11 condolences actually meant something. The Queen Mum died at the age of 101, after a lifetime of doing nothing at all. The people who died in Sept. 11 had their lives taken away from them.

There is a hell of a lot to be cynical about the Queen Mum’s funeral.

Re-reading my post I s’pose I did sound a bit like your dad, but although you and I might not care about some khaki-toothed old crone popping her clogs, I’ve been quite surprised by the comparative lack of bullshit from the queuers themselves, compared with, say, when Diana died.

Maybe my impression has been coloured by things not turning out as badly as I’d expected. Over the last few years we had some dire predictions about weeks of enforced national mourning when she finally went (no sport, no normal TV etc. etc.) and I was really dreading it. But as things stand I’ve found it pretty easy to duck out of the whole business.

Naturally enough I don’t feel as though I owe the QM a thing, and I resent the newspapers telling me what my opinion is, but I reckon the people in the queue genuinely mean it (however deluded that may make them).

In any case, I was prompted more by the OP smirking about the length of the queue rather than any desire to scold you all for not showing her “the respect she deserves”. After all, there are plenty of other threads inviting critical views on the monarchy itself.

Now if you really want a funeral to celebrate, Margaret Thatcher is looking increasingly doddery. When she finally goes there’ll be cake and fireworks at my place, and you’re all invited (especially the Irish).

I think the point is not that she lived a lifetime doing nothing at all, but that she lived a lifetime refusing to take the easy way out as she could have done (I’m thinking along the lines of remaining in London during the war, right down to tiny things like going to support some little charity even when on her last legs).

Considering that she was perfectly able to sit back and do absolutely nothing for the past few generations whilst sticking up two fingers to the plebs, you’ve got to admit she put some effort in. When you factor in that this was despite the fact that she was brought up to despise the lower classes, you can begin to see why she was loved by so many - hence the fact that half a million people were willing to wait in a queue up to 10 hours long to pay their last respects, and a million lined the streets of London for the funeral procession.

You can be cynical all you want, but do you really think that people were willing to wait so long just because they thought they might get into the papers?

What struck me as amusing was the recent fervour over the Body Worlds exhibition of plasticized corpses which recently opened in London. For a while the letters pages of the various newspapers were full of little else except condemnation of the Body Worlds show and remembrances of the Queen Mum, giving the following (hypothetical) juxtaposition:

“Sir: It’s shocking that someone would put dead bodies on display for the general public to gawp at. Furthermore, it’s completely disrespectful the way that people are so twisted, so morbid as to be willing to queue up to look at these ‘artistically arranged’ human remains. What kind of sick pervert wants to look at dead bodies? Yours, Disgruntled of Tunbridge Wells”

“Sir: I find it moving that so many people are queuing to see the Queen Mum lying in state in Westminster Hall and pay their respects. Yours, Mourning in Maidenhead”

I had drafted a letter to the Metro to suggest that maybe they should move the Body Worlds exhibition to Westminster Hall as apparently it’s okay to look at dead bodies there, but decided that I wasn’t really in the mood to be lynched and/or deported this week.