#144 Aloha Fleet Street!
Funny little one, this: a Hawaiian-themed micro-festival to raise money for St Bride’s Church. In the olden days, it would have been called a fête.
This kind of thing takes place in playgrounds and church halls all over the UK, of course. But there’s something undeniably strange about having one just off of Fleet Street. St Bride’s Church is famous, as London churches go; but when you have to compete with St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey, not to mention the Hawksmoor churches, you’re never going to be top of the heap. St Brides also suffers from being tucked away behind Fleet Street, nearly invisible and hemmed in by hulking corporate headquarters and imposing nineteenth-century office buildings on all sides. Its wedding-cake spire is easy to spot from far away, but close up, it’s strangely tricky to find.
Nevertheless, St Bride’s has been witness to most of Old London’s tragedies and triumphs. in 1500, Wynkyn de Worde set up one of England’s first printing presses next door. The church was burned down in the Great Fire, and rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren. It was gutted in the Blitz, then lovingly restored. It’s seen a lot in its time, but I’ll bet it’s never seen thirty grass-skirted pensioners before, dancing to ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’.
They had burgers! They had a disproportionately large sound system! They had well-meaning folks in abundance! It’s little events like this that give London the best of its idiotic, wonderful, hilarious existence. And we were given a free beer and a lei when we went in. You can’t say fairer than that.