God save the King

Thursday 8th September 2022

Dear friends,

42½ years ago on the day that we heard that John Lennon had been shot I went to visit a friend of mine who lived in the village. I was clasping my John Lennon records in one hand, as if the playing of one or more of them somehow bring the ex-Beatle back.

Talking to my mate an hour or so after I arrived, I asked speculatively whether the death of any other rockstar would have so many international ramifications, as well as such a tremendous emotional effect on us all. He answered with a non sequitur: “I’ll be terribly sad when the Queen dies“. And it was the first time in my life that I had even considered the fact that Elizabeth the Second was one day going to die.

And now she has, and we are entering a period of national mourning.

She was a constant in all our lives, and she began her reign seven years before I was born, and if you want the truth I always thought she would outlive me. On behalf of my colleagues at Gonzo Publishing and my colleagues at the Centre for Fortean Zoology I extend my condolences to her family. I have lost enough loved ones in the past couple of decades to know exactly what it feels like. The nation has lost a beloved matriarch, and personally I feel bereft in a way that I truly was not expecting to feel. The death of a 96-year-old lady, who has visibly been in declining health, is no surprise, but it has hit me like a punch to the stomach. An era is ended, but the death of any era means the birth of a new one, and this is the concept of hope and positive anticipation that we all need to take on board.

The Queen is dead,

God save the King.

Jonathan Downes
Cryptozoologist, naturalist, musician, singer, composer, poet, novelist and Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology since 1992. Jon was born in Portsmouth in 1959 and spent his infancy in Nigeria and his childhood in Hong Kong. His wife Corinna died of cancer in 2020, leaving him with two stepdaughters and a six year old granddaughter called Evelyn.