Kingdom of Lovely
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The Kingdom of Lovely was a partly Internet-based micronation that claimed as its territory an East London flat owned, and once lived in, by its creator and ruler, Danny Wallace. It was created as part of the BBC series How to Start Your Own Country in 2005. Lovely had 58,165 citizens, which were registered on its website.
| Kingdom of Lovely |
Die dulci freure
(English: Have a Nice Day)
"National Anthem of Lovely"
|- King||Danny I|
|Established||1 January 2005|
Last count of the Citizens Required userbase (1 December 2007)
|Currency||Interdependent Occupational Unit (IOU)|
|The land used by the block of flats has not been claimed by Lovely, so it remains the territory of the United Kingdom under international law.|
Lovely Day is celebrated on 2 September.
The official territory of Lovely was Wallace's flat in Bow, East London, but citizens of Lovely are invited to declare a room, or some other building or land belonging to them, to be an embassy for the country by taking a photograph displaying Lovely's flag there.
Lovely's flag, coat of arms and motto were designed by London-based design studio Pentagram. The pixelated coat of arms is intended to reflect the internet-based nature of the micronation, as did the studio's final flag, a pixelated Union Flag. Wallace, however, preferred a different flag proposal, featuring a blue stripe and a red stripe, perpendicular to each other at an erratic angle on a white background. The country's motto is Die dulci freure, meaning "Have a nice day".
Wallace originally tried to start a nation by "invading" Eel Pie Island in London with the help of his friend Jon Bond, now Lovely's Minister of Defence. Bond was chosen for the role having once worked as a security guard at Tesco, making him the closest thing Wallace had to an army. However, the Metropolitan Police were contacted by local people, and Wallace was forced to call off the "invasion". After speaking to a number of people including the leaders of Sealand and Dennis Hope, who claims to own the moon, Wallace declared his flat to be a sovereign nation on 1 January 2005 and he set about populating the micronation and recording the television series. Other notable interviewees included Noam Chomsky (who discussed democracy) and a prisoner condemned to death at a prison in the United States with whom Wallace discussed crime and punishment in an emotionally charged episode.
The national anthem video was recorded in late March 2005 in Greenwich Park, with the help of some of the early citizens plus members of Join Me, a "collective" begun by the King some years earlier. The country remained nameless for several weeks after it declared itself independent, and thousands of suggestions for names were put forward online. Wallace chose his two favourites, "Home" and "Lovely", and let his citizens decide the winner by online vote. The country was officially named on 2 September 2005 at an invitation-only gathering of citizens held in Leicester Square. This day was an official holiday of Lovely called "Lovely Day".
During the broadcasting run of "How to Start Your Own Country", additional material was broadcast to digital TV viewers after each episode. This took the style of a national broadcast named Citizen TV. It was presented live by Danny Wallace and featured news, a special guest (usually a member of Wallace's government) and conversations with "citizens" who had called in. An early political change occurred when Wallace fired his first foreign minister live on air and appointed citizen Kieran Collins in his place.
Wallace attempted to submit a song of his own composition, Stop The Mugging And Start The Hugging, as the Lovely entry to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006. The contest's scrutineer, Svante Stockselius, met with Wallace and was sympathetic to his cause but informed him that Lovely could not enter the Contest as it has no national television or radio station of its own and therefore could not join the European Broadcasting Union. Wallace then submitted his song to the BBC, an EBU member which supports the UK entry to the contest, in an attempt to receive their backing; their judges, however, were unimpressed.
The series also showed Wallace's attempts to gain official recognition for Lovely at the United Nations, which was established to be the true mark of statehood. These efforts were unsuccessful, largely because of Lovely's lack of independent territory; Wallace's own flat being within the UK.
Royal developments in the country appear to have stopped, with the King heavily engaged in other projects, such as his acting and comedy career.
Danny Wallace no longer lives in the flat, but still owns it and rents it out to tenants. He believes the tenants are unaware of the flat's status, and has left a newspaper article about himself and Lovely, complete with photograph of him posing in front of the flat, on top of a cupboard, in the hope that someone will discover it.
The country's unit of currency is the Interdependent Occupational Unit, or IOU. The currency is based on the phrase "time is money". IOUs are exchangeable for an amount of the recipient's time, e.g. paying a citizen for 5 minutes of washing up. Previously, each member of the micronation's official BBC message board received one tenth of an IOU for each post made, but since the move to the new forum this had been abandoned. No way to make use of the accumulated IOUs has ever been announced. This can be compared with local exchange trading schemes.
The Government of Lovely originally consisted of friends of Wallace who were recruited at a meeting held at a London pub; other Royal appointments have been made, and the first open elections to specific posts were held via the official website. Subsequently there have been further elections, and even disputes, on the official internet forum and other websites.
A Prime Minister, the position created in 2007, is supposed to be informally elected every six months, with elections held in the form of polls on the main messaging board used by the citizens.
Currently, the message board has been closed by the BBC, and is inaccessible. Therefore, no further Prime Ministers have been elected.
References and notes
- Lovely's website is no longer active.