Last Saturday, as I sat at my computer at about 11:30am, my aural senses were assaulted. It sounded, at first, like a mullah with a megaphone. But Muslim prayers don’t last more than a few minutes. And these noises carried on.
They were still going on through the afternoon and into the evening. There was lots of loud, rocky-poppy, not-very-tuneful music. Now, I live just round the corner from Charterhouse School; and they have a reputation for holding such shindigs. But the sound didn’t seem to be coming from that direction.
At about 6pm, somebody gave a speech. I couldn’t make out a single word; it sounded, more than anything else, like a rant by some crazed South American dictator. Then the music re-started. By 7:30pm, I had decided to take a walk around the district to find the source of the noise. It wasn’t Charterhouse; it seemed to be coming from down the hill. In some places, including my home, the sound was very distinct, even loud; in others, I couldn’t hear it at all.
As I walked down the hill, parties of mostly young, well-heeled-looking people were coming in the opposite direction. I had to walk well more than a mile, all the way down into the town, to find that a huge festival had taken over the town park. It had just finished, and vans and lorries were starting to cart away tents and other temporary fixtures. In the town centre, I saw signs to “Surrey Pride.” So now, I knew what the festival had been; the local Gay Pride parade and party. The Wetherspoon was chock full of happy looking people, mostly younger than the usual clientele. And the railway station was as busy as I’ve ever seen it.Continue reading