In a world increasingly characterised by toxic hypernationalism, the way the British greeted the coronation of King Charles was refreshingly life affirming. Imogen West-Knights walked through the streets and parks of central London whilst the coronation was taking place and has written an entertaining account of the same. Here are some of the really funny bits.
Firstly, all sorts of weird & wonderful people seemed to have turned up in central London’s parks to watch the coronation on big screens (which is strange given that they could have done the same thing sitting in the comfort of their homes): “Every style of hat you could care to name in Union Jack print, flag-print dresses, various paper and plastic tiaras for the girls and crowns for the boys, some of which I’m pretty sure came from Burger King. There are a good number of preachers down here too. One man just outside Hyde Park is carrying a sign reading “Repent, Confess, Jesus is Lord” in pink highlighter, saran-wrapped against the rain. “Prepare yourself for the coming of King Jesus, it’s going to be terrible, dreadful,” he shouts at the unmoved crowd. I feel sorry for the nonplussed Spanish family in matching raincoats who I overhear asking a steward how much of London is closed because of all this. “All the tourist places, really,” he has to tell them.”
Secondly, some people were upset that nobody had informed them that the coronation was taking place: “Lots of people around me were intending to get a good bit closer to the action than this, and weren’t anticipating being herded like cattle trying to get at the big screens. “This is a disgrace. Why weren’t we told?” someone complains to his girlfriend, although it’s not clear who he might have been told by that the once-in-a-lifetime coronation of a new monarch might attract crowds. “I get anti-monarchists, when you see this. We’re being kettled. While they’ve been bringing money into the country I’ve been all for it, but you know what, fuck them,” another person rails, although he admits he’s mostly cranky because he didn’t take a piss before he left the house.”
Thirdly, lots of people were just looking for an excuse to have a few drinks (a sentiment we completely understand in Marcellus especially when our products are underperforming): “There are plenty of people down here who just view this as an opportunity for what is affectionately known in this country as a “bag of cans”: an excuse around which to buy beers and drink them. One such group, three guys in their late 20s, offer me a Birra Moretti and tell me they just came down to “get involved.” “It’s a social, mainly,” one of them said. I leave them arguing with each other over whether they would join in with the pledge of allegiance to the King that will form part of the ceremony later on. Jack and Emily are down from Leeds and also nursing pints. “I don’t really know why we’re here,” Jack tells me cheerfully.”
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