Life is very long when you're lonely

The queen is dead. And coincidentally I am in England. I'm staying at my Mum's house where my stepdad, in the throes of technology addiction, receives push notifications from the BBC news. These notifications play the familiar sound that accompanies any headline on the TV. We knew that the queen was somewhat ill, and when one of these alerts went off we joked 'sounds like the queen has died', he checked his phone and she had in fact.

We were all slightly more affected by this than we expected to be. Despite not really caring about the queen, her absence suddenly revealed quite how much of a fixture she has been, and for how long. The death of some rich old woman is never very happy, and this is to some extent our old rich woman. We made the necessary jokes about her meeting with Liz Truss being the killing blow and then didn't know what else to say.

Later we walked around the village, and through every window on every giant flat screen we could see the same BBC news broadcast showing crowds gathered in mourning. I've no idea what the reporters were saying, but I guess it was scripted months or years ago.

Today I am looking at the front pages of the newspapers some are quite stirring, with beautiful photographers and a degree of restraint. The others I can't help but sneer at. They cry 'Our hearts are broken', 'We love you Ma'am', 'Our beloved queen is dead'. The grief is shown to be false by its clearly intentional performativity. I realize that the front pages I like are split along party political lines.

There is a new king. Soon there will be new coins, a funeral, endless pageantry - and the Queen can join princess Diana on the frontpages of the tacky newspapers as pernicious psychics reach out to her beyond the grave again and again.