You may recall that back on Bastille Day last year my friends Paul, Hannah and I hand-made some berets to get dinner on the house at our favourite French restaurant in London, Brasserie Zédel. For La Fête des Rois, Brasserie Zédel offered the same deal for anyone who came in wearing a crown. Naturally, we couldn’t miss the chance to once again don wacky headgear in exchange for a delicious meal in a stylish place. Not that we ever need an excuse (on either front.)
There was a much higher incidence of handmade millinery in evidence this time, so we couldn’t play an Epiphany-equivalent round of A Flat Cap Turned Sideways is not a Beret. Instead we contented ourselves with marvelling at the great variety of crowns being sported by other patrons. Inflatable crowns, wrapping-paper crowns, Christmas cracker crowns, felt crowns, feathered crowns, stapled, glued, and paper-clipped crowns glimmered in the light. My favourites were one rather beautiful enormous tiara that had an Eastern style, a lovingly handmade copper-foil crown (very unique), and the one made out of a paper Selfridge’s bag. And, of course, our own hastily assembled pirate-themed crowns.
Paul, as usual, came prepared with emergency craft materials including a stapler, enabling us to rescue a young lady whose binder clip was not up to scratch. She was with a man who appeared to have stolen a prop crown from a goth-inspired production of Richard III or similar. Despite the dour appearance of his crown, he was clearly in with the festive mood pervading the room.
Karma rewarded Paul for his generous spirit in sharing out his craft supplies when he found one of the little figurines in his galette des rois, winning him a tipple of a delicious brandy-like spirit that I think is called pineau des Charentes. Surrounded by festivity on all sides, well-fed and with a sip of pineau each we agreed: it is, it is, a marvellous thing, to be a pirate-king!