Went to see the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy last night after woolfing down a plate of noodles in the lovely Noodle Bar in Gloucester Green. I had been to the Graduate Medieval Seminar (a very interesting look at Tolkien's medievalism) and got a little ubriaco on wine afterwards. It was worth it to discuss the merits of Desperate Housewives with one of the faculty - I shall not name her, she's a fan -; I then allowed the drink cloud my judgement and started a very silly rant about using royal titles here in the UK. Is it legitimate for me, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, to refer to people with royal titles - i.e. my lord this or that? They are not my lord, they are only my lord if I am a subject of the Queen, from whom the authority of the title is derived. She, in turn, derives her authority from God (that's the theory at least). And if you think she doesn't, then I don't see the point of having a queen. So what's the protocol? What if I had to meet the queen tomorrow? (Listen to the BBC Radio 4 programme "The Day I Met the Queen" - hilarious) Would I bow? Not ask HM any questions? Not turn my back on her? Only speak when spoken to? This is the kind of stuff her protocol people tell you before you meet her. But that would not work if she were meeting the President of Ireland or the President of France, for example. They are heads of state: the protocol must be different. I am a representative of my country here, essentially (enough jokes about drinking). Surely I am not bound by those same protocols.
Anyway, I wouldn't meet HM, I wouldn't bow, I'd ask her questions ("What in your handbag?", "Have you got a mint?"), and I'd leave when I got bored. You're not my queen, ma'am. Get over it.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is well worth seeing. Funny, bizarre, and unusual all the way. Great stuff. And Stephen Fry, just possibly the one person I would call Your Majesty, is wonderful as the Guide and Narrator. And a very simple, and moving, "For Douglas" at the end. Nice.