Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Wider Reading | Waity Katy, EDL Arts and Crafts and the Last English Silkworms

Continuing the (relatively recent) Silkworms tradition of only ever justifying our existence within the way overcrowded melee that is the internet, via cuttings from the Daily Mail – for, as everybody knows, if it’s in the Mail then it must be true – let us turn to the Royal Wedding.

And the news that the revolting petit-bourgeois succubus, Waity Katy Middleton (I had no idea nicknames could be earned so passively) will be wearing a dress sculpted out of revolting foreign silk on her Big Day. For, EDL lovers of arts and crafts, the UK’s last silk farm, Lullingstone, closed in 2004. Presumably because people weren’t that concerned about the significance of preserving a British silk industry when the silk industry is so clearly not a remotely British thing.

To be fair, the Mail’s piece points this out – albeit in the wake of a sentence in its second paragraph which reveals the real impetus behind its getting published, bemoaning that ‘there is now no chance that any of the silk [in Waity’s wedding dress] will be from English silkworms’ – along with the fact that individuals like Claudia Schiffer consider silk production cruel because, when it is done traditionally, silkmoths ‘never leave the cocoon alive.’ Let me begin by thanking the Daily Mail for its heartwarming concern for the wellbeing of the humble silkworm in amongst a general editorial line that denies climate change and considers Waity’s future father-in-law the only ecologically-minded voice worth listening to. The humble silkworm that lacks, I should add, a central nervous system. Oh yes, it’s definitely the silkworm we should be worrying about, not the fact that, oh gosh I don’t know, in 2001 a Chinese silk-factory worker was forcibly placed in government-controlled psychiatric care after he tried to put together an independent union for the much-exploited men and women involved in Chinese silk production.
If it’s in the Daily Mail, then silkworms really must be the shit. We’ve been saying this for ages. We really are the shit.

Which is the point, innit. This notion that there aren’t any silkworms left in England is bullshit, frankly. I mean, hello! We’re here! Mr and the-future-Mrs Windsor, don’t accept the multiculturalism-gone-mad compromise of British-woven silk from Johnny foreigner – allow us to have a stab at creating the-future-Mrs Windsor’s matrimonial garments. Or at the very least, something ceremonial. For old times’ sake. We are, after all, the last English Silkworms. Hello!

Incidentally, the issue of British-woven silk is what inspires the most hilarious bit of the whole piece, an anecdote narrated with the sort of wistful nostalgia for something uncomfortably akin to feudality that only the Mail and, I suppose, the Telegraph are capable of mustering:

Richard Humphries, the silk manufacturer who supplied the fabric for both the Queen’s and Diana’s wedding dresses, remembers the man who hand-wove the silk duchess satin for the Queen, the late Ron Lamb, who was invited to the wedding in 1947.

Humphries says: ‘He had never worn a morning suit before that day. He would reminisce that he was so nervous, he was ill on the way to the reception, and was unable to eat a mouthful of food because he was confronted with so many pieces of cutlery. But the Palace insisted our firm send the very man who had sat at the loom.’
Truly, those were the days. How lovely of the nice people at Buckingham Palace. This sounds like the sort of thing that nice handsome duke from that nice series Downton Abbey would do for his picturesque serfs.

Anyway, all this is a very long way of saying that, come the double bank holiday twelve-days-off-if-you-take-three-days-off megawin during which we’ll be encouraged to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ alongside our continued cultural and political internment under the yoke of an arbitrary family whose patriarch once asked an aborigine, ‘so, have you boys discovered fire yet?’ – come that festive late-April period, we, the last English Silkworms, will be taking our responsibilities very seriously indeed. We might fall short of producing an actual wedding dress – there are, after all, only four of us – but we’ll surely do better than a Royal Wedding tea-towel (which are going to be produced after all, thank fuck). Basically, watch this space. It will be ceremonial. It will be bloody ceremonial.
Or, alternatively, go on a long, republican holiday, far far away from a suffocating blanket of coverage that won’t even be woven from English silk.


1 comment:

  1. Oh, God. What are we going to do for the Royal Wedding? What are we going to do to the Royal Wedding? Bad things are going to happen. I can see that already.

    I see myself being kicked to death by policemen on the banks of the Thames for an anti-royalist article, with the Met Commissioner stating afterwards, "He was very lucky not to have his knee-caps shot off prior to a gangland-style execution filmed on the officers' cameraphones."

    'The Last English Silkworms' has a great swashbuckling ring to it, however.