The Bitch is coming out of Heal's in Manchester. (Please know, dear readers, that the Bitch is not in the habit going to Heal's, but it's good to see how the other half lives, don't you think, and anyway on this occasion, there's a certain exquisite lamp requested for a special birthday by a young relative, which can only be sourced therein.) Anyway, there she is coming out and two black-clad Furies, who seem to have been watching the door and waiting for this very moment, sweep towards her, one carrying a sort of machine gun on his shoulder and the other, a blonde ice-queen, some kind of dead-black laser rod.
'Madam!' cries the ice queen. The Bitch shrinks. Madam? Is this what coming out of Heal's does to you? Get you called Madam while a microphone is shoved in your face? 'Madam, we're from Channel M and we wonder what you think...' and the Bitch stops hearing properly, just two words 'Queen' and 'Honours' float up to her and wild thoughts are flashing in her head: she is wondering, what's this, why were they so keen to get the views of those coming out of Heal's, and the word 'Queen' has triggered the memory of being caught between her English primary school teacher who once told her she must worship the Queen and her Irish dad who exploded when he heard about it, and she tries to concentrate on the question, 'Do you think the Honours system is a good thing?' and then bursts out a flat embarrassed 'No.' Ice queen looks disappointed and urges a bit wearily, 'Why not?' The Bitch says, just as flatly, 'Because I don't like elitism', which is true, but it's not the whole truth, it's not as though she doesn't believe in recognition of talent and good works, she absolutely does, it's just this whole thing being tied up with the monarchy and old, old systems of patronage, and all those political implications, and the dire situation that because of this, because of all those political connotations of this particular system, people can say, as they are doing, that a brilliant writer should not have been awarded or have accepted a knighthood for his writing because it has inflamed others whom his writing offends - thus calling for the very censorship of which David Edgar recently warned.
And since the Bitch is choked and inarticulate with the weight of all this, the two Furies drop her, and jump impatiently away towards the next victim emerging from Heal's.