The first big event of The Big Event Year and there we were in the heart of it.
We came here about three years ago and from what I recall the New Year’s Day Parade was just really an opportunity for loads of Marching Bands from America to come over and strutt their stuff in the streets of London. So what was in store for this year’s Parade?
Well, more of the same really. Marching Bands. And lots of them. All-American teens, dressed as toy soldiers in ill-fitting suits; great, up-beat music that keeps your spirits high; brace-filled, ear-muffed cheerleaders wishing London a Happy New Year. The contrast between serious conductors with focused musicians and the beaming, bubbly cheerleaders and flagwavers was marked.
I liked that Stratton Street had become the stable block/toilet facilities for some slightly skittish ponies of all sizes.
And it was good to see other four-legged friends were celebrated including the ever-mopey visitors from the Donkey Breed Society and a rabbit called Reggie that was put in a collar and lead and pulled around in a cart for some strange reason:
I liked the kites – apparently commissioned especially..? – held aloft by balloons and occasionally getting amusingly tangled up with lamp posts. My favourite was shaped as an American Eagle.
There were several rather random floats and groups representing the London Boroughs – along with their mayors; people on stilts; people dressed as diamonds, bees and bank notes; Charlie Chaplin; clowns; men and women on mini steam cars; and a few pearly Kings and Queens. Russell Grant was being driven around with Flavia and St John’s Ambulance pushed strechers with respiration models in. There was a grass-covered Rhino, some Star Wars characters and people dressed as Tudors. Oh and did I mention, a few more Marching Bands.
As finally I do on these occasions I played “spot the Chelsea Pensioners” – they never miss an opportunity to be involved… Bless.