An area of parkland just under half a mile away from the Imperial Residence has been annexed by the Free State of Renasia.
Recent discussions between Emperor Jonathan I and Chancellor Kuri Kabanov of Renasia resulted in an agreement that the former would grant an area of land in Carshalton to Renasia after the Emperor suggested it as a means of strengthening Renasian relations with the Empire.
Today, by order of the Emperor, a detachment from Centuria II Midgetae occupied a corner of Poulter Park in Carshalton and declared Renasian sovereignty over it at precisely 11:09. The area of parkland has been named the Zone, after some graffiti on the main entrance to the area.
This is the first time that Centuria II Midgetae has conquered territory since the War of the Upper Playground in May 2006.
Micronational book club: King Nicholas and the Copeman Empire – Book review and interview with the former king
Article by Evren Filgert, Duchess of Dumnonia – originally at Porthbokon News
Part micronational memoir and part ballsy fictionalised tale, ‘King Nicholas and the Copeman Empire’ is a story of a man with a Hyacinth Bucket-esque talent for self delusion with a wit that makes all the ludicrous events described excusable. Most of the facts about the author’s life are completely made up, but it’s told with such a straight face that you can’t help but play along – something that fits with the subject matter of the yarn itself.
Peppered with documentation of the Copeman Empire’s rise (something I was very thankful for, since any actual micronational information seemed to have disappeared from the web) and obsessively detailed accounts of local fast food establishments, this book works as both an entertaining, dryly humorous tale and a micronational account, like an explorer’s journal. As someone who immediately put his micronation into the ‘real world’, so to speak, going about town in micronational dress, becoming the gossip of his town and issuing royal warrants, Copeman gets quite a bit further than many of his micronational readers have before.
With a national religion based on the ‘Order of the Zinger’, a KFC burger, headed by the ‘Archbishop of Fantaberry’, a royal signet ring made out of a cannibalised pound coin and a Throne Room which is actually a caravan’s bathroom, it reminds one of the Kingdom of Lovely documentary quite a lot, and it’s just as entertaining and hard to put down.
I read it obsessively at work, during snatched breaks, because it was so engaging, and it gave a micronational zeal that’s sadly hard to regain sometimes when reading an endless barrage of internet micronationalism. Though the story is about a man’s dramatic, flourishing failure at life, in terms of micronationalism – and having a good time – Nicholas gets things done, whether it be outfitting a static caravan into a lushly kitsch palace or gatecrashing a regional society ball in his kingly persona.
I contacted the former King (now just plain Nick Copeman), who was polite and accommodating when speaking about the former micronation, despite it having been defunct for nearly a decade. He put up an archived version of the Copeman Empire’s site, a very well-designed and funny example of a micronational web presence, complete with custom headers featuring the king and his inspirational quotes and a parodical citizenship qualification list:
- 1. Get hold of a copy of King Nicholas and the Copeman Empire
- 2. Read it
- 3. Give it to a friend/enemy/stranger
- 4. Tell them to read it
- 5. Buy a Zinger Tower burger from KFC
- 6. Eat it, while listening to Zadoc the Priest on your iPod
- 7. Buy a Zinger Tower Burger for a friend/enemy/stranger
- 8. Watch them eat it while they listen to Zadoc the Priest on their iPod
- 9. Get a £1 coin and bore the middle out
- 10. Stick it on your finger
- 11. Change your name by Deed Poll to something snazzy-sounding
- 12. Eat a 10p bag of spicy Transform-a-Snacks
- 13. Email me
Which gives you a clue as to the nature of the micronation (I’m at no. 4, planning to complete 5-8 this weekend!).
Nick also agreed to an interview about the book, his life, and his former micronation, but unfortunately some of it might not make sense to those who haven’t read it. All the more reason to buy a copy! They’re a couple of quid on Amazon.
Evren: The book is told with this very straight-faced dry wit as if Adrian Mole were the heir to Grand Fenwick, but a lot of the events described seem very fantastical. Are any of the people or events in the book exaggerated or did everything really play out like that?
Nick: Yes, everything is distorted and screwed up. All the characters are 100% real but some had their names changed so they wouldn’t beat me up, and certain episodes are slightly Walter Mitty.
I think there is a term for it .. something along the lines of “unreliable author”, where one isn’t clear whether the narrator is telling the truth, deluded, outright lying, or a mixture of all three.
But one thing is totally true: I became King Nicholas. I walked this earth for some time — not as a mere mortal — but as God’s anointed one.
The ending to the whole tale, on the other hand, is quite sobering, a sharp turn away from stuff like having lobster on a bed of pot noodles and riding around town on a horse. Did everything work out all right in the end?
I can’t stand happy endings. They just don’t happen. Life is bitter-sweet. The problem is that consumerist society wants you to believe that if you buy a certain fragrance, then you’ll attract an aspirational partner, get a free upgrade to business class, whitened teeth, and generally live the dream.
Becoming “King” was escapism and wanting to feel good about doing badly in life, but it was a doomed dynasty from the start. That was the whole point really. To be an epic failure, rather than just a meek, downtrodden and apologetic failure
Coming from a small seaside town myself, I know how much people like to gossip. It seems like the whole endeavour had a big effect on the residents of Sheringham. If you still live there, do people still talk about it? Is the Copeman Empire alive in the hearts of Norfolk (or, some of Norfolk’s hearts)?
One interesting thing about living on the coast is that there is one less direction to run in if some yobos happen to be chasing you, and also your community is much denser, simply because it can’t dissipate out in one direction — everyone’s crowded around the waterfront.
So yes, people did gossip about me and my empire: most people were just perplexed by it, some thought I was acting above my station and a minority was outright hostile.
But some people loved it. The sort of can-do people I admire.
I still reminisce about the Empire with Roy Boy occasionally (the owner of the truckstop cafe who had my Royal Warrant proudly displayed on the side of his trailer).
In fact, I’d take Roy as a prime example. Since the book came out he made the move from the layby into the town, opened a cafe, and later extended it — the guy is an absolute legend, fully deserving of an MBE in addition to the MCE I awarded him.
And my official barber has since opened a newer and bigger shop, yet he still comes out to cut my elderly dad’s hair at home as a favour. All the people who were positive and self-motivated at the time of my empire were the people who supported me then and they’re all still going strong now.
Leading on from that, do you regret anything about the whole business, or was it just a strange chapter in your life?
I don’t regret any of it all! It made perfect sense at the time and it still makes perfect sense now.
For example, I stopped wearing my one pound coin ring when I abdicated. But I came across it in a box of trinkets the other day. I’d had a few months of people turning down my current project and I just decided to try it on again, like it was “The Precious” off the Lord of the Rings or something. And as soon as I put it on, I suddenly felt all my regal powers coming back — not in a cocky way, just I felt the legacy was alive again. I’m wearing it as I type.
The book is really interesting to me and other younger micronationalists, because it resonates with a lot of us now but actually happened in this time where the internet was a totally different, younger, place, and things like BT broadband installation and floppy disks. What do you think would happened if you’d had the idea in 2014? Would you have been too busy watching Countdown on iPlayer or would you have gotten really into it, like micronations such as the Federal Republic of St.Charlie or Molossia?
I think if I’d had the idea now, not much would have changed. I’m not on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all that. I still believe that meaningful interactions are what count. Face-to-face, ideally.
You had to do a fair bit of digging around to get hold of me. Not that that makes me special or anything. But I think doing a bit of legwork means you care about the interaction, rather than just liking someone on Facebook to boost your network of so-called friends.
Thanks for answering all my questions! Last one: what’s so bad about drinking pink gin in the navy? [at a Naval officer interview, Nick orders a pink gin, a traditional naval drink, and instead of camaraderie is met with coughs and muttered ‘w***er’s.]
Pink Gin was a popular naval drink, in the nineteenth century I believe, up until the days of David Niven or thereabouts (1940s-ish). I think angostura bitters were added to gin in the Caribbean or there abouts as some kind of health thing, perhaps to do with sea sickness or warding off tropical illnesses.
It was still a popular drink when my uncle was a naval officer, hence him teaching me how to make it.
But fast-forward to my appearance at the Admiralty Interview Board, and no one drank cocktails anymore. Most of them now drink bloody lager!
So when I ordered a Pink Gin (thinking myself the pinnacle of sophistication), they assumed I was taking the p*ss.
Incidentally, I currently favour a Gin ‘n’ Mixed Vermouth on occasion.
Take a Martini glass and fill with five shots of gin (Plymouth/Tanqueray/Beefeater) followed by 1 shot of Extra Dry Martini and 1 shot of Rosso Martini and garnished with a maraschino cherry on a cocktail stick.
So, there you have it. Hopefully this has inspired you to read the book, given a new lease to your real-world micronationalism or at least, inspiration for any new gin-based cocktails. I think I’ll mix myself one in honour of the Copeman Empire.
Emperor Jonathan I yesterday spoke about the Empire’s independence at an event at Wilton’s Music Hall in Tower Hamlets, London.
The event, entitled “This state of independence shall be…”, was part of the “Change for a tenner!” week-long festival celebrating social change, run by the London International Festival of Theatre.
His Imperial Majesty spoke to an audience of roughly 60 alongside representatives of the NSK State, Kemetia, Christiania, and Elgaland-Vargaland, all of which are independence movements of varying kinds.
The Emperor gave a 5-minute long overview of the history and structure of the Empire, then fielded questions on several topics, including the prominence of women in the Austenasian government and the expectations of the now Imperial Family when they declared independence.
The first anniversary of the Liberation of Orly was today marked with a celebration in the Copanese Embassy at East Wrythe.
Tea and cakes were enjoyed by Emperor Jonathan I and Queen Emma of Copan, who was appointed monarch upon the Liberation one year ago.
They were joined by two prominent Orlians at the embassy, which, while under Austenasian sovereignty as an exclave of the capital, is administered under Copanese law due being under extraterritoriality. As East Wrythe is therefore in a sense both Austenasian and Orlian, it was felt to be the best location to celebrate the occasion.
The Liberation of Orly is the name given to the events of 24 June 2013, when citizens of Orly deposed Declan I and turned to the Emperor of Austenasia to restore legitimate government in Copan and the Grove, the two states which comprise Orly. Declan I had seized power over the Carshalton Nations in December 2010 by exploiting a power struggle between the then Emperor Esmond III and Crown Prince Jonathan, but had abdicated from the Austenasian Throne in January 2013. His deposition from the throne of Orly (and its re-division into Copan and the Grove) marked the end of foreign rule in the Carshalton Nations.
Jonathan I yesterday visited the Grove in a personal capacity to feed the wildlife there, an activity joyfully partaken in by the newly independent Orlians a year ago immediately after having deposed Declan I. The Emperor hinted that this may become an annual tradition.
James von Puchow, founder of Landashir and long-time friend of the Empire, became an Austenasian national earlier today at a summit held in central London.
Emperor Jonathan I met at Mile End with von Puchow and with Richard Cunningham (a former holder of the offices of GUM Chair and Pope of the Proto-Cults), to be joined later by Sebastian Linden of Francisville. Pierre d’Égtavie of Renasia had intended to attend the meeting, as had Evren Filgert of the recently founded Austenasian town of Porthbokon, but both had to cancel.
The Emperor, von Puchow and Cunningham visited the Tower of London and the British Museum before going back to Mile End to meet Sebastian Linden and his significant other. After refreshments, the group went to Mile End Park, where von Puchow was made an Austenasian national by the Emperor under the provisions of an Act of Parliament last week.
Von Puchow now holds the status of a non-residential subject, and will soon be appointed Deputy Chief Ambassador to share the workload of the current Chief Ambassador, the Prime Minister Countess Eritoshi.
A pigeon fell out of the air onto the patio at the back of the Imperial Residence this afternoon after having been shot with an air rifle.
The shot had been fired from 316 Green Wrythe Lane, a house close to the Imperial Residence. A person living there is thought to have been visited by police officers only a few weeks ago due to him using the air rifle in their garden, having been heard to loudly complain about the incident on a mobile phone.
The pigeon landed on the patio and frantically shuffled into Wrythe Public Park, where the Emperor himself contained it under a large basket to prevent it from spreading blood over the park or injuring itself further.
After telephoning the RSPCA (a British animal welfare charity) to ask for the bird to be taken to be treated for its injury, the Emperor was asked by them to contact the British police to inform them of the incident, as both injuring a wild bird and shooting something outside of one’s own private property (as the pigeon almost certainly was) are illegal in the United Kingdom.
Two police officers soon arrived and were invited into the Imperial Residence by the Emperor, where he informed them of the situation. Despite the near-certainty that the bird had been shot – it had fallen out of the air after a loud “crack”, with the people at the nearby house having been heard mere minutes ago talking about “shoot[ing] it” after having been seen using the air rifle in their garden – the lack of an actual eyewitness meant that the police could take no action against them without the case being brought to court.
The Emperor declined to press charges, only expressing concern for the welfare of the pigeon. The police officers waited for several minutes for the RSPCA officers to arrive, but then had to depart, leaving a note with contact details should the RSPCA wish to press charges against the shooters.
After some time, an RSPCA officer telephoned the Imperial Residence stating that they were over an hour away and that it would be better for the bird to be taken to a nearby vet. However, there was nobody in the Imperial Residence who was allowed to drive on British roads, with the Emperor Mother and Emperor Father being at work and visiting friends respectively.
Lord Michael – uncle of the Emperor and twelfth in line to the Throne – kindly came to Wrythe and drove the Emperor and the pigeon to a nearby veterinary clinic, where the pigeon was given treatment and will soon be transferred to an animal sanctuary.
Lord Michael has received official thanks both from the Emperor and from Lord Hengest Crannis, Minister for the Environment, for transporting the pigeon to the vets.
For the seventh time this year the Empire has expanded, yesterday annexing a house and garden in Cornwall.
Porthbokon, as the property is now known, is home to four people, three of whom (one being under sixteen) are now Austenasian subjects. Lady Evren Filgert has been appointed Porthbokon’s Acting Representative until the next local election.
Measuring roughly 6980 square feet, Porthbokon is by far the largest Town of the Empire, over double the size of the second largest, Lichtenstein. The land was formerly claimed by a now defunct micronation named Bokonton, which was founded in October 2007 but entered into a terminal decline in late 2010.