Decamot inspired by the following items: Stuart, snow plough, Buckingham Palace, mailbox, shoulder, record store, dumpling, problem solver, tray, member
Stuart Johnson had always wanted to drive a London Bus. He couldn’t tell you why exactly but the thought of driving past Buckingham Palace waving at the royal box as he swung down the Mall to cheering crowds on either side became a private obsession. Hardly a night passed without him dreaming of putting his fantasy into practice.
He knew he would need a public vehicle driving license, so he arranged to have lessons from an early age after practicing on a motorized snow plough owned by his father, a successful farmer from Saffron Walden in Essex. Despite sustaining a troublesome shoulder injury playing rugby, by the age of 15 he was quite at ease behind the controls of a 1959 AEC Routemaster Bus which he later converted to an open topped tour bus complete with a built in Tannoy public address system.
Stuart Johnson picked up his microphone and continued with his commentary ….
“Our American visitors will be interested to learn that we are in the Mall – a word which your forebears adapted to describe an out of town shopping precinct but it once staged chariot races featuring the legendary Queen Boadicea. There is a smaller parallel road running alongside to our right. This minor mall was reserved for Boadicea’s special guests; her entourage of close family and friends. Here they could watch the spectacle in relative privacy; which is why it came to be referred to as Boadicea’s Pal’s Mall or Pall Mall.
An early road going version of George Stephenson’s Rocket, a pioneering steam locomotive, was test driven down this very road preceded by a civil servant from health & safety waving a red flag. Stephenson was from the village of Washington in Tyne & Wear which was named after George Washington, the first President of the United States of America.”
Elmer and Libby Fieldstein from Florida puffed out their chests with pride at the mention of their illustrious world famous first President. As owners of the America’s No 1 Heritage Record Store on Main Street Miami, they had saved assiduously for this trip of a lifetime and were determined to savour every moment of cultural enlightenment.
“The London segment of the ancient Marathon finishes along the Mall to commemorate the very first marathon involving the soldier Pheidippides who ran from a battlefield near the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C.
“According to legend, Pheidippides ran approximately 25 miles to announce the defeat of the Persians to some anxious Athenians but made a detour to London immediately afterwards when he realised the Athenians really weren’t that bothered in gossip.
“We are now approaching the British monarchy’s headquarters, better known as Buckingham Palace. Take a look at the balcony. Between 1840 and 1861 Queen Victoria gave birth to nine children following her marriage to her first cousin, the twenty year old Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Rumour has it that most of their offspring were conceived in the open air on that very balcony. Most portraits of Albert show him with an extra broad smile on his face as you might expect of someone born with a silver tray in his mouth. It might also explain why local residents refer to the home of our Royal Family as Fuckingham Palace.”
Elmer Fieldstein from Miami Florida wasn’t certain he had heard correctly, Stuart Johnson’s commentary having been partially drowned out by a Heathrow bound Boeing 747 passing overhead. He adjusted his hearing aid and turned to his wife Libby for confirmation.
“Yes dear” she said reassuringly “Washington’s rocket was definitely launched from the balcony. After all they didn’t have access to a mailbox in those days”
Leaving Buckingham Palace via Constitution Hill and by now approaching the awesome Wellington Arch, Stuart Johnson calmly continued his commentary:
“The park to your right is St James’s which was made famous by the feminist writer Virginia Wolf in the thirties when she took to strolling through it disguised as a certain Mrs Dalloway. She was eventually arrested by the pre-war literary thought-police for impersonating one of her characters.
“And now to the Wellington Arch itself. It marks the spot where Napoleon surrendered to the Duke of Wellington on the 18th June 1815. From here he was taken to Waterloo Station for interrogation. The satirical magazine Punch lampooned the tiny Frenchman next morning by depicting him on their front cover as a dumpling about to be added as a tasty morsel to one of Duke’s most famous culinary creations - Beef Wellington”
The converted Routemaster now turned left and progressed smoothly along Grosvenor Place enabling their ever-helpful guide to wax lyrical about the 500 yards of solid brick wall which, as he pointed out, bordered the edge of Her Majesty the Queen’s back garden.
“This is where, three time a year, our monarch entertains her loyal subjects at her legendary Garden Parties. As you can imagine, those subjects not possessing official invitations have been tempted to scale the walls. In 1982, one such intruder, a certain Michael Fagan, actually broke into Buckingham Palace and entered Queen Elizabeth II's bedroom.
The incident was one of the 20th century's worst royal security breaches but, in truth, it had all been done before in the eighteenth century by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart of all people. When apprehended by palace guards the eight-year-old genius said he was bored. He was living about a quarter of a mile away at 180 Ebury Street, Belgravia, London, SW1W 8UP and had just finished composing his first symphony which he was going to perform for King George 111 as compensation for having lost the United States of America.
His father claimed he was probably just checking out the venue, something Elmer and Libby Fieldstein from Florida duly noted with renewed enthusiasm.”
As they entered Parliament Square, Stuart Johnson continued their education
“If you spot a smartly dressed clown sporting a red nose you can safely assume that he is a member of parliament. Following the arrest of Guy Faulks on 5th November 1605 in connection with the gunpowder plot, all members of the upper house were obliged to show their allegiance to the crown by wearing red noses when outside the parliament building, a practice recently corrupted with some relish by the Five Star Movement in Italy led by the professional clown, Beppe Grillo.
“As it is approaching 12.00 noon we can pause and listen to the chimes of the most famous clock in the world, situated in the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster but known the world over as Big Ben. It was given this nickname as a tribute to Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America who addressed the House of Lords in 1766 on the economic advantages of paper money
“Franklin was a genuine polymath who was one of five signatories to the Declaration of Independence and became the 6th President of Pennsylvania.” Elmer nudged his wife and whispered in her ear – “see, I told you Benjamin Franklin was an expert on parrots”
The tour finished along the embankment with 120 paying customers expressing their appreciation of Johnson’s All-embracing Cultural Knowledge Personalised Observation Tour by posing for selfies with their genial driver/commentator against a backdrop which included the London Eye, Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament.
Stuart Johnson and his producer, Toby Bull, emerged from JACKPOT PRODUCTIONS edit suite, happy with their work but conscious that some blemishes might need editing out. The on-board mics had captured customer reactions to Stuart’s commentary well. Tony had proved he now had the ultimate problem solver by way of cutting edge equipment as he had been able to mix shots from footage taken from the drone above as well as the three onboard cameras. As he like to boast, he was able to turn fact into fiction at the switch of a knob.
The rough cut of the trial run was now in the can awaiting a suitable musical soundtract and Stuart Johnson pronounced himself well satisfied his first post Brexit promotional video.
“Once we are happy with the American Version” said Stuart “We can overdub three other versions for the Japanese, Australian and Chinese markets”