The Queen Mother's
Alternative Birthday Bash

It was while I was at the 'Mad Pride' fest in Clissold Park that I found out about the alternative celebration for the 100th birthday of the nation's favourite granny. Here's the flyer I was given below.

Having cycled down to the Samuel Pepys, the first thing I saw were some old soldiers having their photos taken for various newspapers. Shuffling my way to the front, I got this pic below. They were strangely dignified, despite holding views that I'd probably disagree with (theirs is a different generation to mine in that people of my age question authority and display a cynicism borne from seeing our parents' struggle and having v.few benefits to show for their efforts amongst other things, while the old soldiers had deference and unquestioning loyalty towards flag, country and monarch instilled into them from birth). Given the sacrifices they made and the friends they lost on some God-forsaken battlefield, it must have saddened them to see someone they held dear so openly reviled and ridiculed, but times change.

I must admit to being quite surprised at the number of t.v. news crews that were present (I guess they thought that a May 1st-style riot would kick off, the rubberneckers!). Just to prove that the event wasn't just of local interest, there was a German news team (ZDF, judging from the logo on the mic) in the area. Here's the interviewer with the soldiers (they obviously picked the gent in the centre as he's got more medals than his comrades).

      The time came for the procession to head off, but not before a few publicity photos were taken by the press outside the Hackney Empire of the Queen Mother's effigy (made with papier mache, I've been told) in an old-fashioned pram and its creator, a glamourously dressed lady with a leopard print top, Jackie Mann (or Jackie O, if you're snobby like that) sunglasses and a strong Northern accent, as well as some local anarchists who unfurled a 'Class War - Working class and proud!' banner (plus, of course the infamous, but mischievious 'impaled royals' banner that you'll see in the 'Mad Pride' section) and a bloke with military drum for him to bash on.
        With that done, the procession got underway (chaperoned by the local plods) to what was to become the familiar chant during the time I was there of "Queen Mum - DROP DEAD!!" Passing by the shops on Clarence Road, shoppers found themselves given stickers with the above statement and looked on gobsmacked at the effigy in the pram (most laughed and you could tell that they secretly sympathised with the protestors). "Wooooyy!! That's deep, man!!" was a remark I heard from a local youth to his friends as we passed by. Even a local furniture store owner whose windows had pics of the lady of the moment stuck on them couldn't help but chuckle at the parade (not much of royalist, is he?).
        The two pics below were taken along what I think is Downs Park Road. The first one taken quickly with my hand over my head, the second was a snapshot as the lady of the moment passed by in the royal pram. I must admit to laughing my head off as events unfurled (who wouldn't really?).



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