Kilburn in north west London is the epitome of the inner-city mix of peoples, wealth and poverty, creativity, bustle, hope, despair and decreptitude. Take a walk down the High Road as far as Kilburn High Road station, and then take a right down to Kilburn Park station. There, by the station, stands a pub, the PRINCE OF WALES. You might not think that there is anything particularly significant about a pub with such a name anywhere in Britain; after all, there must be at least one pub bearing that name in every city in the country.
However, this particular PRINCE OF WALES is characterised by its slow, seemingly inexorable decline, epitomised by its gradually evolving name, resulting from the growing lack of care afforded to that name; to be precise, the gradual loss of letters from the name on the side of the pub facing the road is clear testimony to the lack of care and money lavished on the external appearance of the pub. However, it can also be construed as a fascinating insight into the changing nature of the establishment, or indeed, the evolving character of the royal personage after whom it is named.
Here is the process of evolution laid out in stages, as if a series of mutating prehistoric forms excavated from a fossil-rich vein stretching back millions of years. The first loss of a letter from the PRINCE OF WALES rendered it the PRICE OF WALES. Now, I have no idea if the cost of living in the Principality is rising to the extent that the whole country has become more costly, but that certainly seems to be the intimation here.
The next mutation resulted in a rather defective form, known as the PRICE OF WALS. If the “L” were doubled, then it would be of particular concern to builders up and down the country, who are engaged in purchasing bulding materials for the fashioning of walls of all shapes and sizes. However, the single “L”, while displaying a certain lack of orthographical exactitude, still conveys to the reader the impression that walls are going up – in price, that is.
These initial stages of letter-loss have since progressed to the third, and current, stage, possibly the most awkward of all: the PRIC OF WALS. Now, all kinds of interpretations spring to mind, not least by placing a “K” on the PRIC, though quite how that renders the nature of the WALS is anyone's guess. One could replace the missing “E” in WALS, producing the PRIC OF WALES, which would reflect many an opinion of the current heir apparent, but let's not go there (the Tower of London can get quite cold in winter).
So, what else is in the offing? I shall certainly continue to pass the pub on the bus, as I occasionally do, and look out to see if any of the following come to pass: the RICK OF WALS, the RICE OF WALS, the RICE OF WALES, the RINCE OF WALES, the PRINCE OF ALES, the PRIC OF ALES...the possibilities are almost endless. So there we have it; a landlord's lack of care has become a source of social commentary on the state of the modern monarchy; or if you wish, deep philosophical musings as to the nature of life, society and the world we live in.
Oh, sod all that; it's just bloody funny.