Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Grand Piano in McDonalds - Now I Have Seen Everything!

It might be raining in the rest of England but London is strangely unaffected. The Thames has a boiling roil of water heading down it and the broken banks visible as you tun to land at Heathrow suggest things are not as the should be. But except for the perfectly inane 24 hour coverage on Sky News you would not know this place had been washed out. It is a mild day, sunny on occasions and High Street in Kensington is as you would expect it to be, with its flower baskets, shoppers, children on holidays and all nationalities mixed up in this cosmopolitan hub. I have to confess to being a cultural Philistine by eating at McDonalds the morning I arrived. As I sat in the window I was amused to watch the two Chinese drivers of a DHL delivery van get booked in the 4.8 seconds they were away from their vehicle by a couple of African giraffes, who if any taller would have been bumping the flower baskets as they casually sauntered along the pavement in that peculiarly rolling African way, issuing their tickets. But the incongruous cultural highlight this morning comes not from the crowds outside, but from inside McDonalds. Tucked into a corner is a grand piano – electronic, so of course it is tinkling away by itself. A grand piano in McDonalds?! I am not sure if that is a marketing misstep by McDonalds or whether someone feels a Kensington fast food joint should look and feel a bit more upmarket. I cannot think why.

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