A street party like no other

We attended a Queen’s diamond jubilee street party in Folgate Street in London’s east end. Whatever purpose this normally narrow, little stretch of road serves, today it was closed off at one end by a red union jack-covered double decker bus, and played host to teeming hundreds of party animals. It was in some ways a repeat of yesterday; an ocean of British flags dominated the scene, as did pints of beer, glasses and bottles of varying ciders, other alcoholic drinks, stills cameras and video, and mobile phones that often had to be raised in the air to capture what their owners couldn’t see. Everywhere you looked, there were happy people, revellers, varying degrees of intoxication, pretty girls both foreign and English, and young children waiting their turn to receive a newly created balloon depicting the Queen or a crown or octopus by the cleverest balloon manipulator you’ve ever seen. Streams of men and women flowed in conga lines towards the bar, while stationery ‘conga lines’ of women waited patiently for their turn in the ladies’ toilets.

A series of tables forming one long row covered the length of the street. A single photograph captured the whole row, dominated by the British colours red, white and blue. At one end, a band played ‘Land of hope and glory’ to thunderous cheers and waving of union jacks from everyone present. It was like the last night at the Proms, an intense display of British nationalism that was intoxicating and heartwarming. A moment no one will forget in their lives. The only diamond jubilee in their lives.

We sat, together with old friends Mike and Edwina and kids Rebecca and Joshua. We owe them a debt of gratitude for taking us there.


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