So they replaced the Lord Mayor of the City of London this weekend, a position that is not the same as the Mayor of London. Yes, it is confusing, no wonder our predecessors all moved to the America, where we simplified things, like casting votes for our next President, so that the Electoral College can tell us who won.
As opposed to the United States, where parades usually involve giant chicken wire and tissue paper floats, high school marching bands, and let’s not forget the guys wearing fezzes riding in tiny cars, things in London are much more staid. The Lord Mayor’s Show has representatives from each of the Chartered Companies that represent the City. The Chartered Companies are the successors of the medieval guilds, such as the Candle Makers Guild, the Fletchers Guild and, of course, the Worshipful Company of IT Professionals. As you can see, new guilds are being created all the time, so that no one needs be left out.
Besides the Guilds there were a bunch of military marching bands, because apparently high schools don’t have their own marching bands here. I blame the lack of American style football. Besides that, there’s just a weird and wonderful miscellany of groups and vehicles that make up the rest of the parade.
Apparently the Lord Mayor only gets to ride in this coach during the parade and it spends the rest of time in a museum. Which is a shame, since it’d be cool to get to ride around in this all the time. Though this year the coach broke down during the parade, even though it doesn’t have an engine, a stereo or even air conditioning. An axle seized up, just another example of shoddy Eighteenth century workmanship. The Lord Mayor had to finish the parade in a Land Rover, which seems a bit of a comedown.
And then there’s the list of things you don’t see typically in American parades:
My favorite float, and I mean float, literally this time, was the giant suspended rib roast sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Butchers. This is something you just cannot make up. There they were, a phalanx of butchers, aprons and all, marching down the street while towing their oversized meaty raison d’être. Those giant balloons of Snoopy in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade seem quaint by comparison.
Anti-aircraft missile launchers. I can see how these might be useful to have if you’re ever under aerial attack from Liverpool. Actually, the day after the parade there was an article in the Telegraph with regards to how the City of Manchester was graciously offering to handle some of the overflow from Heathrow airport, so London wouldn’t have to build another runway. Perhaps this was a not too thinly veiled warning to Manchester not to try and horn in on London’s airport business.
Cavalry. Yeah, sometime you see kids wearing little cowboy outfits riding Shetland ponies in parades in the US, but here in the mother country they do things up right. Cavalry with sabers and polished brass helmets, yeah! Just putting the surrounding communities like Kensington and Mayfair on notice that the Queen has the Lord Mayor’s back. Or possibly it’s more complex, like the Queen is saying I have Household Cavalry and all you guys have are giant floating rib roasts, so just remember to whom you’re pledging fealty. Personally, if I had some Household Cavalry I’d have them just gallop up and down the main streets periodically, like a biker gang, so that everyone knows who is the Big Cheese.
Gog and Magog. I even read the wiki on these and still have no idea why they are associated with the City of London. Somehow, I can’t see anyone really being intimidated by giant wicker statues.