What's the hardest you've fought to get a pint?
One Man. One Mission. To battle through the largest demonstration London has ever seen, for a beer.
What follows is a short article I wrote for the student newspaper while studying my undergrad. It was published back in the April of 2019, and potentially unsurprisingly, it is still somehow relevant. It was written partly as a sarcastic piece, and partly as my first toe-dip into the water of actual journalism, so feel free to read on and enjoy an article, snappily entitled;
The Unwitting Man on the Ground; The People’s March, 23rd March.
"Lately Brexit has been described as many things, from an itchy blanket of country spanning despair, to an all engulfing fog of political confusion. And last month I ended up truly engulfed in the chaos of it all. Having planned a society trip across London I forgot to check if it would clash with anything. As it turned out the route of the photo hunt overlaid perfectly with large sections of the route for a pro-Brexit march. I’ve never been to a political march before, and hadn’t exactly planned to go to one on this occasion. I simply wanted to get to the pub. The problem was, separating me from a quiet pint of something cold and brown was about two miles and around two million people. I’m quite happy fighting my way through bustling airports but this was something else.
Paddington Station, this Brunelian masterpiece sees nearly 36 million travellers per year, but on the 23rd this place was rammed. Walking out across Hyde Park to escape it all proved futile. Remainers were already pooling with their banners and flags. Walking further across one of London’s great parks and more and more clumps of people emblazoned in blue, with EU flags gathered. Outfits were getting wackier, and by the time I had reached Hyde Park Corner the noise emanating from the area was buzzing with chatter, chanting, and music. Now two miles from my pint of bitter, I was still several landmarks away. Turns out that the easiest way of getting through a big crowd of people when they are heading one way, and you the other, is to stick the biggest lens on your camera and waggle it above your head in a seemingly professional manner. People assume you’re press and move out of the way or pose for photos and so clear a pathway. Coming up under the Wellington arch, I nipped past Buckingham Palace and Saint James’ Park. Encountering the march again at Whitehall, the flow of people moved on to Westminster, pausing only to shout some vitriolic phrases down Downing Street. It was here I managed to slip out of the stream and look back down the road at the mass of people. A wild blend of young and old, people from every denomination, and walk of life. It was a stunning show of people coming together for a joint cause and doing so peacefully, and without causing too much chaos. And, I did finally get my pint. "
That entire ordeal took about an hour and a half to negotiate. After effectively spending the run time of 'The Lion King' shouting myself hoarse, my thirst was quenched with a pint of something, onboard the Tattershall Castle (limited spaces to sit, London prices, but a nice view out along the Thames, go for its uniqueness and the fact that its a pub on a boat on the Thames). So, what's the hardest you've had to work for a pint? Did you go on a long and winding expedition, or simply forget that there was a giant socking protest on in a city you were trying to walk across? Let me know in the comments.