During what can only be described as the wettest drought on record (which is basically misunderstanding the word drought to mean mismanagement of water resources), a surprisingly large number of hardy souls braved the elements to take part in our second costume parade. Last year’s parade was headed by a zombie Will and Kate, in celebration of their wedding. This year, being 2012, we had zombies of a different stripe leading the parade, celebrating an important, upcoming city-wide event - and not next week’s mayoral election. This year the pack was led by zombie athletes (don’t use steroids, kids) bearing a torch still clasped in the fetid hand of the poor soul from whom the undead had wrenched it.
Anyone who considers geeks pallid folks who spend their entire existence basking in the glow of computer or TV screens, will have had their misconceptions shattered, as these dedicated fans donned their favourite costumes, many of which were clearly designed for much warmer climes, to get on the streets and declare their geek pride. Of course, the large assortment of Doctors and the various factions from the Star Wars universe were far more appropriately attired for the inclement weather, however, it was our undead frontrunners that showed that even if they no longer had souls, they still had plenty of spirit - even if most of it came in hip flasks. For ingenuity, the two girls dressed as Transformers, made from cardboard boxes, deserve a special mention. Eat your heart Michael Bay, although there were some zombies ready and willing to do it for him.
The procession headed from Embankment Gardens, across the Thames on the Hungerford Bridge, then along the South Bank to the BFI, attracting the attention of tourist cameras. As the showers turned to drizzle (do the British have as many words for rain as the Inuit allegedly have for snow?) the parade arrived at its destination. More photo ops, especially for the ever-present 501st, then into the warmth of the BFI’s Blue Room for a party with Krispy Kreme donuts, popcorn, Mountain Dew and a glass of wine for those who wanted. And there were party games too; musical chairs, pin the ears on the Spock and a Death Star piñata, that was brought down by a knight, but not of the Jedi variety. And Magic Andy kept people amazed with close-up sleight of hand.
The rain did not stop play and everyone seems to have enjoyed this informal kick off to the festival, before the more serious business of watching films starts on Tuesday with Death. Hmm, there seems to be a pattern emerging here…
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