16 August 2018

Dodi al Fayed and Diana Spencer

If you were to tear yourself away from Bicester Village and visit a shop in Knightsbridge called Harrods, at the top of an escalator you would until recently have found a statue showing a dancing couple: Dodi al Fayed, son of the once proprietor of the store, and Diana Spencer, the estranged wife of the heir to the throne of Canada.

The dancers both died in a Paris underpass as their car attempted to evade the Media. The assumption was that they had been what my students used to call "an item".

But you are probably now too late.

Because now the statue has been removed by the current shopkeeper and sent back to Mr Al Fayed.

I understand this. But it seems to me that this statue, its style, its purpose, its historical context, is a unique expression of one bizarre moment in the cultural history of our times; when the throne of the House of Windsor seemed to be at risk; when the people of this country seemed consumed by an irrational inexplicable frenzy located somewhere at the strange, fearful, fascinating interface between Sex and Death.

Mr Al Fayed naturally wanted to write his beloved son into the narrative, and so commissioned the group. The governing house and the current regime equally naturally now wish to write Dodi out of the narrative, and a statue of the former Miss Spencer ... all on her own ... is to be erected in a London park.

I believe that this statue group of Dodi and Diana should enter the archival collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Whether, when, how it is eventually displayed would in the hands of the curatorial staff. But if this is not done, I am convinced that a future generation will blame our negligence.

Is Dodi Arabic for Beloved? I seem to recall a Hebrew phrase from the Song of Solomon ... Qol Dodi Dode, the Voice of my beloved at the door ...

1 comment:

PseudonymousposterJohn said...

"the archival collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum" - Oh no, no, NO, my dear Fr.
In the midst of the main entrance way for all to admire!
The V and A is full of a lot of dreadful bric a brac, once curated by Mr Roy Strong; it would raise the tone immensely.