Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year's Day Parade in London

Parade Grand Marshalls

A short night's sleep after viewing the fireworks on the River Thames, Laura and I were on our way to see the London New Year's Day Parade. Laura had the excellent foresight to get us tickets at a grandstand, so there was no more standing and waiting in the cold for us this time! We walked right up to our seats on Piccadilly Street just in time for the parade.

I've never been a fan of parades. I don't watch them on TV, and unless people are throwing candy (and by "candy," I mean "good candy") directly at me, I don't like watching them in person either. There's just not anything interesting about seeing beauty queens and high school bands meandering their way down the street. But despite my general disdain for parades, I had high hopes that the London New Year's Day Parade would be at least as spectacular as the parades held at the major US cities and broadcast on TV. Maybe they'd even have balloons!

It turns out that the annual South Carolina Poultry Festival (yes, this is a shout-out to "the BL") has a better (and shorter!) parade than London (one of the top five or so most important cities in the world). The parade in London is just a sorry excuse to invite American high school bands, who have to pay their own expenses and thus unload American money in London. There were no fewer than 28 (!) high school bands/choirs from the United States, and they weren't even those good high school bands with the rockin' drum lines. They were just plain old high school bands, playing the same tired songs every one of us heard a zillion times between freshman and senior year. It was like an American reunion on Piccadilly Street, with an obscene number of parents (a nice bonus for the economy of London) there to watch their children march in the parade.

Laura and I made it through two of the three hours before bolting. The one major bright spot - other than the occasional candy throwing - was an enormous group of British Mini owners showing off their rides.Mini on Parade

The "Oliver" Float

No comments: