In case you have been living in a hermetically sealed vacuum, you will have noticed that Queen Elizabeth II has died and yesterday was her funeral.
The news may have flashed before your eyes on social media, or in the newspapers, or on daytime TV and radio shows.
And yesterday at 10.30am RTÉ started showing the funeral as did most big news stations around the world. And some people weren’t happy about that.
Newstalk presenter Kieran Cuddihy was one of those who took umbrage and asked why should Irish taxpayers’ money be used to broadcast and cover the queen’s funeral.
“The nostalgia of the Empire has reached our shores,” he said. Kieran understood why the BBC would be broadcasting the funeral but why RTÉ? he asked. Did we really need the additional cost?
“That’s what they are spending taxpayers’ money on.
“There are people up north who will say she’s head of state but I hate to break it to RTÉ. They are not watching RTÉ, they are watching the BBC,” he said.
But is that true? And would it really be appropriate for a national broadcaster to start thinking ‘Well we could cater to this group of people who live on the same small island as us. But, it is going to cost us some money, and someone else probably has it covered, so let’s give it a miss’.”
There are probably lots who agreed with everything Kieran said, and some subsequent guests on his show echoed his statements that she is not our queen.
That is obviously true, but what difference does that make? Donald Trump wasn’t our president but RTÉ and other news outlets were still there to cover his inauguration.
Regardless of what you think of the royals, it was a historic occasion. Even just going on how many world leaders were there, it was probably worth popping along.
On the money side of things, there’s no doubt RTÉ has wasted cash over the years — we have all read the financial reports. But I really don’t think you can levy this against them.
The funeral footage was a feed and would cost very little — if anything — and flights to London aren’t the same as hopping aboard an airbus to outer Mongolia.
Others gave out about the disruption to the usual TV schedule. And that is true, it did unsettle things; it bumped out a repeat episode of Dr Phil. Look, I’ve nothing against Dr Phil — great accent and he’s taught me a lot over the years — but I don’t think it qualifies as essential broadcasting.
In the aftermath of the queen’s death, there has been acres of coverage. Everyone seems to be straining to have some profound opinion on it. As a result there has been a plethora of weird and baffling responses.
A woman on Sky News saying that seeing the queen’s coffin meant more to her than the birth of her two children was countered by Irish football crowds expressing their delight that a 96-year-old woman had died; there was Charles III getting furious about a biro breaking and social media sleuths analysing what this means; and Jedward tweeting about the evils of imperialism.
I read articles about how the queue to see the queen typified everything good about being British; yesterday adult channels decided to forego porn and instead play funeral footage; and there were endless speculative think pieces about the war between the Fab Four (Harry, Meghan, William and Catherine).
There were those who seemed to be intent on defining their Britishness in response to the queen’s death, and others who wanted to define their identity in their indifference to it.
But one thing the last 10 days have shown is that there is widespread interest in Ireland in what’s happening across the pond.
Maybe that’s because some Irish people are more interested in the royals than they’d like to let on. I went to cover Meghan and Harry’s wedding in Windsor a few years ago and, to my surprise, there were plenty of Irish people, from the North and South, who had flown over for the occasion.
Or maybe it’s because, even if you have zero time for the royals, listening to everyone talk about loss and watching people get upset, or angry, or manic brings up a lot of feelings we weren’t expecting.
Either way, I don’t think RTÉ or any news station can be criticised for showing the funeral, but I do think we probably would all like to move on now, and are happy Dr Phil is back on today.
I know, I know, you don’t need to hear about another podcast. But I love the premise of Jaime Winstone’s Greatest Night Ever where celebrities talk about the most memorable night of their lives. Hearing about great parties and celebrations seems especially fun when there is news that less and less of us will be venturing outside this winter as the cost of living spirals. And just this week one paper claimed that the era of the Great Night Out was over — say it ain’t so. I also love a podcast that’s about celebrating gossipy fun, and not focusing on wellness or maximising your potential.
While most of the focus of the podcast is evenings on the rip with people dancing on tables and toasting occasions with cocktails, Winstone told the Sunday Times that her best night out was the evening her child Raymond was born. When you have a child the universe sort of says to you, ‘Okay, let me give you something really lovely — good luck now!’” It may seem like an unusual choice.
There are endless birth war stories out there, and scenes from TV shows and films seem to exclusively show women roaring the house down, cursing and crying as doctors dispassionately examine them. I’m sure that resonates with a lot of women, but it doesn’t always go that way. Hearing labour being compared to a night on the town and a celebration is a nice break from the norm.
It’s been drawn to my attention that my first name is facing extinction. One of my friends fired on a link to an article that highlighted it is now considered an endangered name alongside names like Beryl, Gladys and Mildred. The article went on to say that in the UK Lucifer was a more popular name in 2021 than near-extinct name Nigel. Which is a little surprising to say the least. At first I was aggrieved but everything is cyclical so who knows, when Lucifer falls out of favour, maybe Nigel and Kirsty will be back at the top?