Helen Mirren just gave an alternative Queen’s Speech and every one of us should take heed

The city is never healthier than when one citizen – especially one whose years have earned them the right – can let rip about unacceptable public behaviour

Share

One does get a little tired of all the Helen Mirren adulation. One occasionally feels one is being hoodwinked into expressing Royalist sentiment by proxy. Or that by joining in with the endless celebration of the lone sexy female over 40 that the media admit into existence, one is colluding in sidelining all the rest of them. But one can’t blame Her Royal Mirrenness for that.

Even if you do hold a grudge, over the weekend Mirren did something so magnificent it will have you doffing your cap like it’s on a spring mechanism. She was halfway through a performance of The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre, in which she plays a one-legged aerobics instructor called Shirley (only joking, she plays the Queen again, of course) when the scene was interrupted by loud drumming. In full regalia, Mirren marched outside to discover the source of the noise, a parade promoting a gay and transgender festival. As she explained to The Daily Telegraph: “They got a very stern royal ticking off but I have to say they were very sweet and  stopped immediately.”

Country dwellers have their idylls. Urban dwellers, this is ours. The city is never healthier than when one citizen – especially one whose years have earned them the right – can let rip about the unacceptable public behaviour of another and reach a good humoured resolution. Yes, it’s confrontational, but it makes an important statement about the value of communal spaces and our shared responsibility to look after them. Sadly, most don’t have Mirren’s confidence.

If you ever ride public transport, sit in the park or go out to eat, you’ll have been in a situation where a stranger was behaving in a way that made others uncomfortable, by letting their headphones leak, for example, or smoking in a non-smoking area. You probably didn’t say anything, and understandably so. The same freesheets we use to avoid eye contact with our fellow commuters include stories about people who did take a stand and were violently attacked for their troubles.

Even non-psychotics tend to get a bit shirty when asked by a stranger to modify their behaviour for the benefit of others. Let these Soho bongo-botherers provide instruction on the proper response to a public telling off. They weren’t to know they were interrupting another performance. Fair enough. Once informed, they expressed calm bemusement and moved on. “Not much shocks you on the gay scene,” commented parade organiser Mark McKenzie, “but seeing Helen Mirren dressed as the Queen cussing and swearing and making you stop your parade – that’s a new one.”  

It’s all child’s play at Tesco 

We’ve long known big business makes decisions based on profit, not ethics.  So Tesco’s determination to keep separate “boys” and “girls” toys sections is baffling. Let Toys Be Toys, a pressure group, is asking retailers to stop the practice, arguing it limits children’s development. Boots have agreed. Whatever you think of the gender politics, surely it would be easier, and therefore cheaper, for Tesco to do likewise.

Chuck the toys on the shelves wherever they may land, do away with the pink and blue bunting (it looks tacky anyway) and let kids decide for themselves if they’re interested in chemistry, or cooking, or both.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MBDA UK Ltd: Mission Planning and Control Solutions Systems Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? A pro-act...

MBDA UK Ltd: System Design Capability

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? The small...

Recruitment Genius: Production / Manufacturing Operative

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading garage door manufacturer are curr...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software / Solution Sales

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a thri...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: the Labour leadership election hasn’t yet got to grips with why the party lost

John Rentoul
Kennedy campaign for the Lib Dems earlier this year in Bearsden  

Charles Kennedy: A brilliant man whose talents were badly needed

Baroness Williams
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific