Bardiness

"..a bardy view!"

Rule Britannia, Paul Anka, the Royal Albert Hall and….hot-dogs?

I watched the Last Night of the Proms last night. Which seems like the best time to watch it in my opinion. The "last night" is always renown for it's fervent unadulterated flag waving and stirring anthems. Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia, and rounded off by God Save the Queen and Auld Lang Syne. Proms001

I was struck by not only all the Union Jacks and flags of the cross of St George, but also by flags from many commonwealth countries and even Germany, France, and Brazil. The latter three are hardly synonymous with the British Empire, which is what the finale is mainly about.

More formally known as the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, they began in 1895 and are now regarded as the world's largest and democratic musical festival. Spread over eight weeks every year, mainly at London's Royal Albert Hall, 2009 saw over 100 concerts, and the last night also encompassed events at several parks throughout the UK.

Edward Elgar once remarked that lyrics like Land of Hope and Glory happen just once in a lifetime. It was Edward VII who thought the melody would make a great song, so Elgar asked the poet A.C. Benson to write the words. As England doesn't have a national anthem of her own, there is an ever growing consensus to make it this one.

I'm afraid that today it will be called "Land of Lost Hope and Faded Glory" (mother of the free welfare state)! Bad joke – sorry!Paulanka

The last time I was at the Albert Hall was in 2006 (blimey – over three years ago!) to see Paul Anka  in concert. My wife's a fan, so I was escort. I wasn't looking forward to it that much, but Anka is no wanker and is a star of the first magnitude.

Even I was out of my seat like everyone else clapping along to his repertoire. It was a great night. He played to a packed house, and to me the highlight was when Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Junior made posthumous virtual appearances through remarkable stage technology, and the host sang with them.

Before we started to queue for our seats, we walked around the Albert Memorial. It had recently had a lengthy facelift, and if there is anything in London which displays the past glory of Empire, then this is it. Albert memorial

I was a bit peeved when I paid over £7 for a hot dog and coffee from a nearby vendor, and rued the fact that even a local lad like myself could fall victim to such rampant tourist exploitation.

Still, it was a night out, but I pity those visitors who are subjected to these types of prices on a daily basis.

When I bought my hot-dog from a stall on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan a few months ago, I paid just a fraction of the price. So how is it that London tourists get such a rip-off?

Ah well, just a little tale for my regular blog readers. I know you're out there – somewhere!

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September 13, 2009 - Posted by | Culture

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