Indigo Editorial #847: The long dark second term of the soul

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The Christmas tree has finally been put away. Whatever New Year’s Resolutions I promised myself I’d do have been tossed aside in favour of binge-watching Netflix and ordering takeout. It’s late January, and everyone is a bit fed up.

Perhaps this is why political tensions have a habit of boiling over in winter, particularly in January. It has been a year since the US Capitol insurrection that changed the face of American politics forever. Across the pond, the Prime Minister’s ‘Partygate’ scandal continues to develop, each day bringing fresh allegations from all sides of the political spectrum. Astonishingly (or not), the PM has managed to insult nearly everyone possible with this latest raft of non-apologies. From the Queen to the constituents of North Shropshire, the public mood seems to be turning against Johnson.

This sense of frustration is echoed here in Durham, too; many students have expressed frustration at the University’s ‘soft start’ to Epiphany term. Over the past two years of restrictions, the British public has sacrificed a great deal to protect our most vulnerable. For most if not all the students at Durham, this includes a normal University experience. As January draws to a close, it seems only natural to feel disillusioned with the state of things.

And yet, at the same time, there are reasons to be optimistic about the future. Restrictions are slowly being lifted, the University has promised a return to in-person teaching, life seems slowly – tentatively – to be returning to normal. But it is impossible not to notice that this is a promise that has been made before; at the start of last term, last summer, the list goes on. The collective trauma of the pandemic will take time to heal. However, I think culture and the arts have a special place for all of us in difficult times – music, books, films and more can provide comfort even when things seem at their most bleak.

Culture and arts have a special place for all of us in difficult times – music, books, films and more can provide comfort even when things seem at their most bleak

In this edition of Indigo, we focus on the Royal Family to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee. Regardless of your opinion on the Royals (and there is doubtless much to criticise), the Queen has remained an integral part of the British brand through fourteen Prime Ministers and a complete transformation of British life. Our fantastic section editors have once again delivered some outstanding articles; on Page 12 Music explores what a 2022 coronation anthem might sound like, and on Page 3 Film and TV discusses how depictions of the royals in cinema have shifted and changed over time. On a lighter note, on Page 15 Creative Writing provide a whimsical take on the innovative films of Wes Anderson. 

A 70-year reign is a long time and invites comparisons with how things used to be. It’s tempting to view the past through rose-tinted glasses and reminisce about a Golden Age that never really existed. I find this thinking to be fruitless – take the Queen’s accession in 1952. Rationing from the Second World War was still in place. The technology that allows me to watch Netflix and order takeout was still solely in the realm of science fiction. What I think we should all remember at this time of year is that there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if it’s taking a little longer to reach it than we thought. Despite another bleaker midwinter than usual, spring is right around the corner.

Image: Adeline Zhao

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