‘What did you do, dad, on the 19th of September 2022?’ -The People of South Lanarkshire did not rest on that day – Burke and McLean (not Edmund and John, but Raymond and Richard) egged them on to the respectful end, while the Queen of England was laid to rest.
Significant historical events, more often than not, give rise to the interrogative idiom, “Where were you when…?” (JFK, 9/11, Robbie leaves Take That.) Therefore, it came as no surprise, in the media frenzy that followed the death of the old English lady, better known as Queen Elizabeth the Second (or first), Mrs Battenberg, Lizzie Windsor, or a variety of less endearing epithets, that the day of the state funeral was being hyped up to become one of these oft-remembered occasions. The public holiday on the day and multi-channel wall-to-wall live coverage for the weeks leading up to the funeral ensured that we would all be participants, willing or not.
Burke: A few days before the royal event, whilst cycling around the outskirts of ever-expanding East Kilbride, we decided that we should find some kind of alternative activity to avoid the compulsory national mourning. After all, neither of us had ever met or even set eyes upon the queen.
McLean : Although, when I was performing as a Spiv with Mischief la Bas at an event in Edinburgh a few years ago, an obsequious young lackey asked us if we’d care to meet Prince Charles; Calum Beaton and Paddy Bonner and I politely declined and we chose to go for lunch instead.
Burke: My only royal experience was when I saw Lady Diana in her car in Glasgow. Not wearing a seatbelt.
McLean: A few days earlier, in response to the unending media sycophancy and enforced public mourning, we had improvised a wee satirical video at Whitelee Windfarm screaming at the sheep and windmills to ‘Show some respect!’ for our glorious dead monarch.
Burke: Of course, it would be easy to just turn off the TV for the week or go walking in the wilds of Scotland, but it would be better if we could do something mildly entertaining.
McLean: Shouting ‘Sick old man’ at Prince Andrew had already been done.
Burke: I suggested we print and hang up some ridiculous comedy signs to give the people a laugh.
McLean: But we needed something in the spirit of Mischief la Bas. As the late Ian Smith once said – ‘Gently warping the underlay of the fabric of society.’ It had to be weird, but believable.
Burke: Therefore, we designed some little signs for the public with ridiculous rules to follow on the day of the funeral, printed and laminated them, then whizzed around EK sticking them up. Within a few hours, photos of the notices had appeared on social media courtesy of bemused members of the public.
McLean: The great thing was that, no matter what reaction the signs got, be it offended royalist, someone who got the joke, or anyone mad enough to really buy into it, we would see it as a success.
Burke: A memorable day, and strangely enough, we can now look forward to the coronation next year.