Okay, pop quiz:
Why is THIS the most memorable photo from the Big Royal Platinum bash in London? Can you see it?
Most people, especially Brits (I expect) will see prime minister and convicted flagrant Coronavirus scofflaw Boris J, with wife Carrie, arriving for one of the many platinum photo ops — and recall that BJ was being (non)royally booed by the crowd. That’s what got this moment into the news videos.
But that isn’t what grabbed my attention.
I could care less about BoJo getting booed. For sure, he’s more than earned the raspberries, and (if there were any stones among the House of Commons) he should be about to get a boot in what they call there the arse, to bounce him right out of office. (In fact, he seems a prime candidate to end up wearing stripes or an orange jumpsuit, like our recent ex-Prez should). If that happens, be good chaps and get back to me pronto: I don’t wanna miss that.
But here, climbing the steps to again pretend to be in Her Majesty’s Service, for me he and she were completely upstaged by proof of the USA’s continuing hegemony in matters cultural, economic, and gastronomic. That’s despite all our current troubles and woes, despite the pandemic & inflation — and despite whoever is sitting on the throne in Buckingham Palace.
So look again . . . (Answer below).
Yes, of course: it’s “FIVE GUYS.”
I mean, where else would a truly hip sovereign, worn out from a long day of mindless ceremonials marking 70 endless years of mostly tedious long days of mindless ceremonials, want to slip out and kick back with — you really want me to believe, corgies???
One thinks not: let them torment the servants; beyond the canine propaganda, the cat is now out of the grease-stained bag: the true Brit royal with any taste buds left would go for a genuine American classic: an artisanally-designed burger with (by God, they better call them FRIES, not that wimpy Old Country misnomer “chips”), served with informal Yankee insouciance, plus free peanuts to munch while the sovereign is waiting.
And there it is, right across the street, just waiting for the Royal Call, as soon as the crowd disperses. (Or maybe Scotland Yard’s fabled Special Branch now has a new undercover unit for imperial emergencies: MI-5Guys, or the Royal DoorDash?)
Yes, my weatherbeaten chest swelled with post-colonial pride when the logo registered.
Because you see, this is personal: Five Guys was started in 1986 in Arlington, Virginia. And in that very same year, I too was living in Arlington, just a few blocks away. I was one of the anonymous thousands who helped make it a hit: free peanuts! Sacks of fresh-delivered potatoes, identified by source in Maine or Idaho, which were peeled and sieved and seared on the spot! Hot sauce to drizzle on the fries!
I didn’t get there as often as I wanted — life was busy, and Five Guys shared the drawback of sudden stardom: long lines. So the old adage applied: “Nobody goes there anymore — it’s too crowded.”
But when I moved, Five Guys followed me, into new homes, into a new century, a new millennium. There’s even one here in southern flyover country, just a few miles away.
Yes, that logo made this photo truly a keeper.
And if I ever get to London again, no matter who is doing the dirty deals at #10 Downing Street; and regardless of whether the “new” superannuated monarch is named after me, I’ll know where to go to get an authentic bite of home and heritage.
So God Save the Queen, and heaven keep Five Guys reigning there by the Thames also, frying above the fray . . . .
P. S. I wonder if that other unforgettable London landmark, stumbled on (just in the nick of time) next to Euston Station on my last visit in 2010, has also survived. . . .