File this one under “If you love him, you’ll love it. And if you hate him, there’s plenty to work with.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has provided fresh ammunition for both his fans and his detractors this week while in London to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth.
This past Saturday, just a couple of days before the Queen’s state funeral, Trudeau surfaced at a London hotel lounge singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” during an impromptu karaoke performance. He was accompanied by celebrated Canadian pianist Gregory Charles, who was part of the delegation attending the funeral.
For some reason—perhaps because he was singing a song by Queen while getting ready to honour the life and passing of the Queen—this has enraged his detractors every bit as much as if he’d broken out the safety pins and bondage pants to perform “God Save the Queen”. And by that, we’re talking the Sex Pistols song, not the song loved by 999 out of 1,000 monarchists.
Political commentators, including some on these shores, have suggested that Trudeau having a good time at the piano bar wasn’t exactly statesmen-like given he was in London for a funeral. Chief among them was the Globe & Mail’s Andrew Coyne.
Coyne later doubled down with:
Quick to defend Trudeau was, predictably, Charles, who noted that the evening reminded him of Caribbean funerals, where lives are celebrated with songs and laughter.
“Everyone sang with me for two hours,” he said. “That was the feeling, that was a lot of fun.”
Charles did not comment on the way that Trudeau seemed on a mission to recast “Bohemian Rhapsody” as a Broadway showtune interpreted by Sideshow Bob. And we won’t either—any amateur who gets up in front of other people and has at ’er deserves nothing but respect.
Speaking of respect, Trudeau’s media team has deemed it necessary to issue a statement on the performance, a snippet of which surfaced on Twitter. This despite the PM has made it clear in recent days that the Queen was one of his favourite people on the planet.
Acknowledging the karaoke footage is authentic (some have suggested it’s from the summer), the Prime Minister’s office said: “After dinner on Saturday, [the] prime minister joined a small gathering with members of the Canadian delegation, who have come together to pay tribute to the life and service of Her Majesty.”
The final word? When you die, do you want people sitting around in head-to-toe black for a week, listening to Henryk Górecki Symphony of Sorrowful Songs on endless repeat? Or do you want everyone gathering around a piano to rip into Ween’s “The Blarney Stone”, Black Flag’s “TV Party”, and the Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray”?
Now, all together (although not necessarily in the style of Sideshow Bob singing H.M.S. Pinafore in its entirety on The Simpsons): “I see a little silhouetto of a man/Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the Fandango!/Thunderbolts and lightning, very, very frightening me/Galileo, Galileo."More