Lovely Jubilee 2020

I think everyone will agree that 2020 has been a bit of a difficult year for human beings on planet Earth. Now that it is coming to an end, it becomes possible to think about what it means.

There is a phrase in British English “lovely jubbly”. I always thought it referred to the (originally Biblical) concept of jubilee, a half-century “sabbath of sabbaths” during which human relationships get reset, but it turns out that the term was first used as a 1950s advertising jingle for an ice lolly called a “jubbly”. Then, in the 1970s, it got recycled as a catchphrase used by Dellboy in the TV serial ‘Only Fools and Horses’. It has a slightly different connotation in Scots English, where “jubblies” is a slang term for female breasts.

So, this is Thomas Riffmatch’s take on 2020. I think a lot of people have been yearning for some kind of jubilee. Perhaps the events of 2020 weren’t exactly what we had in mind, but there it is. We will have to make the most of it!

Lovely Jubilee 2020
Cover design by Michele Winfield
You shall make this year holy,
Proclaim pandemic liberty;
All must bow down and worship me!
Who can disagree?
Each vagabond and refugee
Returning to his family
To occupy his property
And ponder jubilee.

Slaves and prisoners set free,
All debts erased from memory,
Each grace-and-favour tenancy
Disposed without a fee.
From each, to his ability,
Residing in this colony;
The trend repeated globally –
This lovely jubilee.

Then, lacking the propensity
To live in close community,
The working class and bourgeoisie
Dispute the price of tea.
All coming under scrutiny,
We’re drowning in hypocrisy,
Increasing in intensity,
In spite of jubilee.

Then leaders, ruling by decree,
Who were not able to foresee
The scope of herd immunity,
Provide a guarantee.
With striking ingenuity
And nuanced ambiguity,
Financialise society
To gild the jubilee.

But everyone turned out to be,
As usual, much too cowardly
To reach potentiality
And turn the master key.
Norms of herd morality
Applying, all too humanly,
The principle of me, me, me…
And that’s no jubilee!

Breakthroughs in technology
And crowd-control psychology
With eyeball-tracking constantly
To see what we can see.
The subsequent economy
Is based on the commodity
Of focused attentivity
In aid of jubilee.

Not quantity, but quality –
The strains of sacred melody
Combine in perfect harmony
To form the base of “we”.
But imprecative blasphemy
From Gomorrah and Sodomy
Rang out in animosity
To taint the jubilee.

Stunted in our sov’reignty,
Like Hamlet’s sad soliloquy,
We’re doomed to be or not to be –
I’m counting: one, two, three…
But there’s no sense of urgency;
We live in modest luxury
To face the bare contingency
Of holy jubilee.

Those born in the last century
Are buried in the cemet’ry
Or ashes from the crematory
Scattered out at sea.
Redemptive contiguity
Assures the lasting legacy
Of long-conjoined humanity
In lovely jubilee.

©Lyrics written and performed by Thomas Riffmatch to a backing track composed by Nikita Nikitin, recorded and produced in Ekaterinburg by Andrey Bokovikov.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *