Dust off the bunting. The Queen’s diamond jubilee is just around the corner, and the monarchy, says this week’s Listener, has its mojo back.
“’Steadfast and true’ never seemed more apt as a description of the monarch, now 86,” runs introduction to the cover package. “Since she pledged her life 60 years ago to the service of the Commonwealth, Elizabeth II has rarely put a foot – shod always in a royal heel of exactly 5cm – wrong. That doesn’t mean there are no detractors, but the Queen continues to anchor the Royal Family with her enduring and dependable presence.”
Clare de Lore, wife of former Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon, tells Joanne Black what the Queen is really like. (Would you believe me if I said that she watches The GC?)
Jane Clifton sticks up for the monarchy’s enduring role apropos New Zealand. “Are we oppressed, instructed, intimidated or affected in any way by the monarchy? No.”
And David Cohen waves the republican bunting back at her. “Our cultural marriage with the old country – the only actual basis for our ongoing political connection to the monarchy – is dead, finished, gone, kaput.”
Elsewhere in the new Listener, Rebecca Macfie explains why wild rivers such as the Mokihinui won’t be sufficiently protected from hydroelectricity development without a law change.
Graham Reid looks at the impact of Spotify. Can it win over a generation that has been used to pirating music?
Diana Wichtel talks to New Zealand’s down-to-earth superchef, Al Brown.
In the super soaraway arts pages, Claire Allfree catches up Hilary Mantel’s follow-up to Wolf Hall, and there are reviews of work by Teju Cole, Jonathan Franzen, Ben Fountain, John Irving, Claude Lanzmann, Shalom Auslander, Laurent Binet and Irvin D Yalom. Which is plenty.
Plus plenty of music reviews, and theatre, and food, and wine, and science, TV listings, Fiona Rae’s unmatched viewing advice, and a bunting great load of columnists.