In a word . . . June

 

Ah, there she goes. June. The month which has given rise to the world’s most shockingly bad sentimental song lyrics. And with such awful punny play on four-letter words such as moon, noon and soon.

So, so Mills and Boon (begging your pundon!).

Here is an example from the excellent Petula Clark (85). And though I wait each day and hope and pray/ Your love will come on soon/It’s as far away as the thirty-first of June. (“Soon”, “June”)

Or, I’m reaching for the moon/You’re as far away as the thirty-first of June. Even “Maybe these dreams of mine will break in time/Just like a toy balloon/And I’ll be waiting here till the thirty-first of June.

OMG. Hadn’t thought of that one – “balloon”.

All suitably hope-less for a truly heartbreaking love song. Almost as good as the Twelfth of Never. Johnny Mathis (82) this time: You ask how long I’ll love you, I’ll tell you true/Until the Twelfth of Never, I’ll still be loving you/Hold me close, never let me go/Hold me close, melt my heart like April snow.

Who writes this stuff? (Jerry Livingston/Paul Webster). Melt my heart like April snow? Clearly he was not around for the blizzard last March? Much, mush mush too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra.

There is, of course, no such date as the 31st of June, any more than there is the 12th of Never. Or so I thought. Then I discovered a Russian film titled 31 June set, simultaneously, in England in the 12th and 21st centuries on a fictional date of June 31st, based on a short story by JB Priestly.

But, there was a June 31st, 1997. Well, there was and there wasn’t. It was an imaginary Hong Kong Independence Day created by artist David Clarke. On July 1st, 1997 Britain handed over control of Hong Kong to China and during the handover ceremony there was a 10-second lull between the two anthems as agreed by both sides.

In Clarke’s mind it marked a brief moment when Hong Kong was free from both Britain and China. He wondered what if, instead of 10 seconds, Hong Kong was free for a whole day. He called the project June 31 1997.

(Dear Petula, June 31st happened. 21 years ago. Stop waiting!).

June, from Latin Iunius, a contraction of Iunonius meaning “sacred to Juno” after the Roman goddess of women and marriage, sister and wife of Jupiter. (Don’t ask!)

inaword@irishtimes.com

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