If you're heading to the park this weekend, beware of untethered children running around covered in ice cream and even worse, the obnoxious Red Stripe louts.
1. Untethered children
Yes, they're too young to know better, but that's exactly why we ask all parents: please, please, in the name of God, please - keep them close to hand. They invariably escape their three-wheeled prisons and invade our picnics - screeching, butt-naked, with outstretched hands covered in the dripping remains of (what we hope is) chocolate ice cream. The taramasalata is ruined!
2. Noise pollution
Nothing ruins your love for technology like sitting in a park near someone who owns portable speakers. The whole reason you’ve come here is to escape the neighbours who have Jessie J on at full blast. Now, thanks to these 100-decibel monstrosities, gone are the days when you could retreat to one of London’s green havens safe in the knowledge you wouldn’t have your ears carpet-bombed with someone else’s idea of bangin' choons. Not only that - they’re streaming Spotify and won’t cough up for Premium.
3. Rogue barbecues
The fact that there aren’t many parks and open spaces around London where barbecues are permitted is a great injustice, you may argue. After all, what’s the harm in squatting over a disposable £1.99 kit and flipping a few 40-percent-beef bad boys with your mates on a weekend afternoon? Well, spare a thought for those poor souls who are sunbathing downwind – the ones coughing violently, running into the distance and smelling like they’ve been hanging in a Texan smokehouse for the last six months.
4. Red Stripe louts
Drinking in parks? Not a problem. What better than an alfresco tipple on those halcyon British summer days when the clouds part to let the sun shine for a whopping 30 seconds at a time? And unless you see a sign saying otherwise, it’s all legit. But in order to keep it that way, let’s be civilised about it, shall we? Maybe someone should have a word with the guy in the snapback who hasn’t been home since Lovebox 2014 and is high-fiving every granny passing by on their mobility scooter. Any more of this and we’ll end up like New York, where the poh-leece come down on outdoor drinkers faster than you can say 'Pimm's o'clock'.
The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming and nobody’s trodden in dog shit (yet). It’s a truly glorious day in the park. But no one seems to have noticed. In fact, everyone seems to be looking...down? Ah, right: Instagram. The echo chamber of all that is meaningless in the modern world. Our advice to those who feel their M&S kettle chips are worthy of the same level of media exposure as the latest royal offspring is they take a cold, hard look in the mirror (without pointing their phone at it and making a reference to the gym).
By Matt Breen, who drinks Red Stripe in a brown paper bag.
Take a look at the top five people who ruin summer.
Images: Nathan James Page