WoSblog goes to the Royal Wedding
But don't worry, chums – you can rely on your super soaraway WoSblog to do these things in its own bravely iconoclastic style, rather than just falling back on cheap and lazy mockery of easy targets.
First among the manifestations of your favourite blog of cultural commentary and critique's refusal to be bound by the shackles of convention was that we actually went to London yesterday (the day before the big event) and mostly to buy sweets. But having gone so far and having all-day travelcards, it seemed silly not to hop on a Circle Line tube down to Westminster and sample the patriotic atmosphere before getting on with the rest of our day.
Contrary to first impressions, the gentleman on the left of the relaxed Royal party chilling out before the big day is not in fact a member of the BNP. (Or at least, if he is it's pure coincidence.)
Instead he was a bookie, clearly benefiting from some quality inside knowledge about Her Majesty's hat, as it turned out. We decided that the odds on Sexual Healing opening the dancing at the reception were a double-bluff, and put £500 on it. Soon we shall be rich.
These people seemed to have got their wires crossed somewhere.
Really disappointingly, these people were just selling posters, rather than an actual Royal Top Trumps set. We would totally have forked out money for a pack of cards featuring battle match-ups between monarchical superstars. Is Prince Phillip more racist than Princess Margaret? Who's had sex with most women out of Prince Edward and the Duchess Of York? Who scores highest for "importance of role played in the death of Princess Di"? Etc.
We tried not to be judgemental, because the fact was that everyone camping outside the Abbey seemed to be having a lovely time, but it does look a bit like this chap's Union Jack is being deployed as an extra-large drool bib.
This one came out a bit weird. (All pics taken with my iPhone 4 with the HDR function switched on. It does odd things sometimes if stuff is moving.)
The three ladies in the red, white and blue fascinators were actually in the same carriage as us on the train from Bath. (The one in the matching purple jumper and slippers is a random interloper.) We'd taken a detour from Paddington but happened across them again at the Abbey entrance, proving conclusively that it IS a small world.
This one was quite odd. At one corner of Parliament Square there was what looked like a long-standing protest against the war in Afghanistan, complete with a (we think) dummy stood on a plinth in an orange Guantanamo jumpsuit. Unsurprisingly, the whole thing had been cleared away on Friday, but watching it on TV we observed that at the same corner of the square, and nowhere else, the flagpoles had numerous large orange balloons attached to them. Coincidence or magic? We deserve to be told.
Unexpectedly, the rest of London was almost deserted. Despite it being a normal working day and everything being open, I've never seen so few people in the capital. You could have had a picnic in the middle of the road on Westminster Bridge, and though it was a pleasant day this was the scene outside County Hall on the banks of the Thames at lunchtime.
(The Film Museum, incidentally, is a bit of a let-down, despite the cheery young fellow at the ticket desk. It just about scraped being worth the £6.75 each we spent thanks to a 2-for-1 voucher, but if we'd paid the full £13.50 we would have been very miffed. The County Hall building itself, on the other hand, is nothing short of stunning. PRO TIP: Go in from the entrance at the opposite side, ie the one NOT adjacent to the river, for maximum marvelling at its marbled magnificence.)
In town, the offices of hoity-toity snootmag The Lady easily took the win for celebratory decoration.
Quite a few people felt the need to explain their behaviour in poster form. Also, for some reason there appeared to be a really disproportionately high percentage of people from Canada. I was especially happy with the two vans I managed to capture in these two shots.
Everyone (including me, obviously) was taking pictures of people taking pictures of people taking pictures of people.
A sneak preview of WoSblog's 2011 entry for the Most British Photograph Of The Year contest. Union Jacks, a red London bus, the Eye, Big Ben and an immigrant. Beat that, losers.
Tragically, some campers peaked too soon. Their lifeless corpses were quickly spirited away by ambulance crews, in special commemorative Wills And Kate body bags.
Later, at Casino Amusements in Goodge Street, we were thrilled to see a new generation of gamers captivated by Namco's 1979 classic Galaxian. (Also well worth a look: the new Rolling Stones pinball.)
But the greatest discovery of the whole trip was this. By 7pm we'd been hiking around London for many hours, and had found ourselves outside King's Cross station for reasons involving vegan cupcakes that needn't concern WoSblog viewers. We were pretty hungry, and despite the King's Cross area still being one of the capital's very skankiest parts, we couldn't wait any longer for some health-bar-restoring sustenance.
The Chop Chop Noodle Bar is situated directly opposite the main entrance to the station, and while it doesn't look much from the outside, once you're in it's actually very pretty – clean and bright and modern, like a very well-polished IKEA showroom. Better even than the decor, though, is the food.
It's always said that a sign of a good Chinese restaurant is lots of Chinese people eating there. We're not sure why – surely that's only accurate if you assume all Chinese people like the same sort of things you do – but there were plenty of them in the small and already-bustling eaterie when we arrived. And in this case the maxim did turn out to be true, because the stuff they brought us was tremendous.
Pictured is most of the WoSblog team dinner. At lower left some of the nicest crispy seaweed I've ever tasted, at bottom right some absolutely gorgeous sweet'n'sour chicken in a gloriously light batter with tangy, fruity sauce and huge chunks of pineapple, and at the top some mixed vegetables in flat rice noodles, reportedly every bit as delicious.
The price of this feast, of which there was too much for either of us to finish (although for 20p you can buy a plastic container to take the remains away with you to scoff on the tube later)? £8.40 all in. (A scarcely believable £3.30 for each of the main courses and £1.80 for the seaweed.)
The surroundings were pleasant, the staff of young Chinese women friendly and efficient, our order arrived in about five minutes, nobody rushed us to make way for the constant stream of new customers, and the food itself was ridiculously tasty, plentiful and just absurdly cheap. Viewers! If living in or visiting London, go immediately to the Chop Chop Noodle Bar, even when there isn't a royal wedding on. It's the new best restaurant EVER.