Street Wedding Music

At closing time outside the NatWest Bank by Kingsbury Circle, a line of young men lean against the wall, whip smart in black suits and bow ties; like a team of rather slender bouncers, or a small gathering of the Nation of Islam waiting for Malcolm X to speak on a street corner in Harlem in 1961. Either the Nat West has suddenly enforced a seriously enhanced dress code and all its male staff are lining up as a public display of it, or there’s a wedding in prospect. The latter possibility is confirmed by the presence of one young man in a bright gold Shalwar standing slightly in front of the others like a commanding officer.

Soon enough, they all climb into a jostling queue of cars sounding their horns. One guy in the lead car stands up so he is out through the sun roof filming backwards. Two others – in a display of insouciant bravado -sit sideways out of passenger seat windows as the cars, all of them shiny, some of them seriously sleek and expensive, head off towards Northwick Park and points West in a convoy of overpowered metal. The horn blasts are loud, but somehow harmless, happy and harmonic; like a piece of minimalist music. Sonata for car horn and car horn. Even the people complaining and holding their hands over their ears at the bus stop are laughing.

A builders van parked opposite advertises the prospect of work on basements, decoration and refurbishment, with a company name that is hopefully not an onomatopoeic prediction of what happens to their work; KRK.

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