The Funny Day

1 May 2011

Central London, UK

It’s an easy decision to make that today will be easy and tonight will be just as easy when your head throbs to the beat of the night before.

Yet as the day progresses, I feel more and more like I want to seize the day; fuelled entirely by my new role as a tourist officer to Alex and Angela (Croatians). However, I turn from officer to tour guide and we set off to stop 1: Globe Theatre. This is terribly boring. Less boring, though, is the Croatians’ constant delivery of jokes. When these guys tell jokes, you get a good glimpse of the incredibly conservative, right-wing nature of Eastern Europe.

Failing to get a photo of Tower Bridge, procrastinating to get to The Globe

Next is Hyde Park for Speakers’ Corner. Surprisingly not a tourist destination. The premise is that anybody can get up on a crate or step ladder or whatever and legally shout whatever they want. So, you get all sorts of people preaching religion (or the evils of it), the evil of monarchy, immigration and of course complete nonsense. All at the top of their lungs, so it’s not explicitly speaking.

I’m listening to a short white-haired woman ‘speaking’ about the legitimacy of all black people in the UK, accusing each of being an illegal immigrant. An African shouts to the woman–who is now red in the face: “What’s your favourite sun tan lotion?!” Everybody laughs and the woman frowns.

Next is the man from Ghana, a proud cleaner, who jokes nonsensically about how there are over 200 kings in his country. “Yes, it does work for you here. In Ghana, it is different. Think of it this way: There is a man and wife. You there! With the child! She is a gift to all mankind! Now, this worked for you–it worked for him. Then, there is the gay man. He has no wife, and lives in a small, small flat. But! He has his cat and his dog. And they… well… they work for him!”

As you can tell, Speakers’ corner is always taken with a grain of salt. Interestingly, I didn’t see a single woman (apart from the xenophobe) anywhere.

Alex is grateful there’s a McDonald’s nearby, for he wants “…something… with meat.” He orders five cheeseburgers and tells me a story of how his friend unsuccessfully ate eighteen cheeseburgers for his 18th birthday; he was throwing up everywhere after the thirteenth burger. Alex usually has more than five burgers, but because there’s no mayonnaise, he just can’t. “Fucking English McDonald’s has no fucking mayo! Is this McDonald’s???”

Final destination: Buckingham Palace. With the clouds and without the hundreds of thousands, it’s a completely different place.

See? Not so spectacular.

Ticked the boxes, and laughed more in a day than I can remember.

I can’t tell you how good it was to have these glasses on. Perfect for me.

Heading back to the hostel we decide I’m going to Croatia in August. Can’t wait. In the meantime, I’m reluctantly drinking another beer; what the Croatians call “a sleeping beer”, but I’m not sure that it’s working, especially with this new recruit here, Ernesto from Milano. I can see us going up to the bar any minute now…

Who would have guessed it? We’re off to a pub in Covent Garden, traditional English, on a Sunday past midnight. We’re making fun of our world leaders, but Ernesto with his Italian prime minister takes the cake and then some. Ernesto has lived in Norway, now works in London, but we don’t know why.

Back in the ol’ faithful Generator, we show each other pictures of our home countries and drunk photos.

I see how the Irish have a reputation of being funny: because they are complete piss-heads and usually are funny. Six Irish 24 year olds burst into the sitting area, as it’s the only place left to sit and drink past 3am on a Sunday. One stands up, proudly, eyes glazed “You like to drink, so do we! Get more bottles, bring’em to me!” and sits down again. “Where you all from, then?” We answer Croatia, Italy, Australia and that we’re all just travelling. “Yeah, we’re just on the piss” and he sips his drink, acceptingly.

Alex is singing the Croatian national anthem, which the Irish guys judge, mimicking the Eurovision song contest. “Croatia! ……. two points! Luxembourg! ……….. three points! Ireland… five points!” And immediately jumps up, lifting his shirt up and down singing the intro to Chris Brown’s “Yeah 3x”. This happened at least another seven times in one way or another: “And now for the Irish national anthem……. Duh duh duh duh duh! Da da duh duh duh duh duh!” Then the other Irish guy would stand up again, arms outstretched: “You like to drink! So do we!” His voice now just barely a croak and a whisper. Somewhere during this time Alex from Croatia admits that “I think sleep is… uh… not profitable”, even though he has an exam for his law degree in 8 hours– in Croatia. I haven’t been to bed before 5am in what seems like an eternity.

It’s the single funniest thing this year.

We head off to bed by 6am at last, giggling about and impersonating what we just went through. Sneak into the dorm, laughing. Get into bed, laughing. Whispering (as loudly as one can whisper) “Ireland… five points!”. Dozing, laughing uncontrollably and inappropriately to eventually fall asleep like little kids after The Funny Day 2011.

June 3rd, 2011 7:00pm