I found this year’s Christmas lights in London’s West End rather underwhelming. But the ones in Carnaby Street brought a smile to my face.
It’s a tradition in our family that we head into London for a pre-Christmas lunch in Chinatown with my parents and brother, followed by a look at the festive lights. This year was no exception. We had lunch. Heather took Isaac to see the theatre adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I went to the cinema with Toby and Kara to see Ralph Breaks the Internet. As night fell we reunited and set off to check out the lights.
Carnaby Street epitomised London in the Swinging Sixties. Even now it’s full of trendy shops and always does something a little bit different with its lights at Christmas. This year, to commemorate the release of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, the street’s arch has been reworked to include the band’s logo. And as you walk up the street, the lights overhead spell out the lyrics of their most famous song.
It’s a simple but lovely tribute to the band and their former singer Freddie Mercury. And it’s very much in keeping with the street’s ‘Cool Britannia’ vibe.
I was five years old when Bohemian Rhapsody was first released. Queen were an indelible part of my life and musical culture growing up. For the previous generation, it was the Beatles; for the one after it was Oasis and Blur. So Bo Rap always holds a special significance for me. Which is one of the reasons this was the song I based my first ever musical parody on, some three years ago. If you’ve never heard Thatcham Rhapsody – my take on being a parent of three young children – well, here’s your chance.
Anyhow, seeing Carnaby Street lit up like this put a smile on my face despite the teeming rain. And isn’t that what the spirit of Christmas is all about?