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An orange for Karl Marx

On a recent jaunt to London, Rhiannon, Dr G and I went to Highgate Cemetary.

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 Specifically, we went to Highgate Cemetary East. Admission was £3. I don’t know if you have to pay to get into Highgate Cemetery West. Maybe it’s free there because the residents aren’t as accomplished. Honestly, I’d never got an inferiority complex from a headstone before, but this place was chockers with overachievers – poets, artists, philanthropists, medical pioneers, Iraqi communists. Sometimes all of the above the same time.

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 But the crowdpleaser at Highgate is the one and only Karl Marx. He gets his own sign at the gate, so if you’re a tightarse Scotsman and start spluttering about the fee, your companions can point to it and say, “But they’ve got Karl in there!”

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 It’s a big whopper of a grave. Karl looks like a jack-in-a-box, stuck and helpless. Sorry world, about Lenin and Stalin et al. As you can see I have no body. I just came up with the ideas, and those dipshits went totally mental with them.

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 Amongst all the flowers someone had left Karl Marx two oranges. Anyone got a theory about that one?

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


18 thoughts on “An orange for Karl Marx

  1. good question about the oranges. i don’t recall seeing any when we visited there, geez, probably 12 years ago (yikes, i’m getting old!). what we did see, though, was a nice fat wreath from the vietnamese government in honor of good ol’ karl’s birthday, which just happened to fall on the day we were there.

  2. Yes, you have to pay to see the “other” cemetery — think it’s a tenner! But boy, is it worth it. You can only take a guided tour — and there’s no wandering off the paths — but the place is chock-a-block with graves over-run with ivy and the trees are huge and leafy and everything’s, well, creepy as hell. The Circle of Lebanon is brilliant; you kind of expect vampires to appear out of nowhere. And there’s loads of famous people in there too.

    As to Marx and the oranges, I guess it saves him from having to queue for them!

  3. If you look hard, somewhere near Marx is the guy who invented the Hovis bread process. I wonder if people leave loaves there?

  4. The oranges were probably a chinese gift. Chinese people usually offer a pair of mandarin oranges or tangerines as a symbol of good luck and wealth.

  5. Not entirely sure about the oranges but, many native folk here who are traditionalists, offer food to the dead to help them with the journey to the place of the dead… a good orange ought to provide the soul with a good mile towards their goal… a sort of “heaven” by christian standards 🙂

  6. I went there when my mum was visiting the big bad city this Spring and I was really surprised at how big the Karl Marx thingie really was! (After I’d gotten past the entry fee of course)

  7. Mwahaha!

    Interesting thoughts – looks like they’re making sure Karl has plenty of vit C in the next life.

    Clem – they were indeed clementines, easy peel but not so easy for handless Karl hehe.

    Anon – darn, wishing now we’d gone to the west too! 🙂

    thanks for your comments folks, btw… i thought no one was around but a week later i discovered all the comments had gone to SPAM! ARRGH!

  8. Surely some mistake?

    No stiff in Highgate Cemetary should have two oranges until every stiff in Highgate Cemetary has one….

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