This ridiculous idea to have a campsite on Clapham Common to celebrate the obscenely expensive Royal Wedding baffles me. This Camp Royale has already outraged the locals whom I've little time for anyway and this story straddles two of my major bug bears: The Royals and Clapham Common.
As a five-year-old schooling in Clapham back in 1977, my class was told it would be going to the Common to watch the Queen’s car drive through Clapham as she celebrated the Silver Jubilee. Something about standing at the roadside and waving a flag at someone else struck me as being fundamentally wrong. I refused to go and my mum was called to the school, and with her limited understanding of English, it was explained to her that whilst the rest of the class was at the Common waving their flags in anticipation, I was sticking to my guns and not leaving the classroom. I was an arch Republican long before I knew what it meant.
Which brings me onto the Common. Who on earth wants to camp on the Common? Why? Do they have any idea how much dog’s mess there is there? It would be impossible to pitch a tent on any blade of grass there that hasn’t been messed on by a beloved family dog. When the annual summer outdoor cinema comes to the Common, I’m aghast that people think it’s “cool” to watch a film there. Do they have any idea what they’re probably sitting on?
It would be impossible to pitch a tent on any blade of grass there that hasn’t been messed on by a beloved family dog.
I once read an article confirming Clapham Common was officially the dirtiest place in London and that if they dug up all the soil and cleaned the common up, it would be 20 years before the soil would rid itself of any trace of dog mess.
All these self satisfied Clapham ponces delighted to live within a hundred metres of a Starbucks and Sainsbury’s Local, walking their dogs on the Common and letting them do their business there, are oddly enough, up in arms at the thought their beloved Common might be trashed by all these campers.
My dad died on the Common. I sometimes think how near was the closest stool to him when he collapsed and expired there? Would a dog stool have been one of the last things he saw as he lived out his final moments?
For much of my childhood, as my Dad put me through my goalkeeping drills on that filthy common, determined I would be Spain's number one, I would complain about all the dog's mess in my goal area. Dad always took this as a sign of weakness. It disappointed him to see his only son closely inspecting his goal line. Might he, in his final moments, have glimpsed that stool and thought, "My God, the boy had a point."
Hear Daniel Ruiz Tizon’s latest ‘Please Don’t Hug Me’ podcast here
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