Q Sixy Thang

There follows, Dear Reader, a short information film on a particular British quirk…

Ironically, there are only five people shown to be queuing in the film, when in fact new research from the UCL has discovered the importance of six…


Illustrated by the BBC with cropped snapshot of more than six people queuing, but we’ll let that pass…

People will wait for six minutes in a queue before giving up and are unlikely to join a line of more than six people, researchers at the University College London found.

Six is also the magic number when it comes to spacing – gaps of fewer than six inches between people can spark anxiety or stress.

*Trust you to spot that, Clicky…*

*/rolls eyes…*

Funnily enough, if you look up the word ‘queue’ you will also find a beast…

queue (n.)late 15c., “band attached to a letter with seals dangling on the free end,” from French queue “a tail,” from Old French cue, coe “tail” (12c., also “penis”), from Latin coda (dialectal variant or alternative form of cauda) “tail,” of unknown origin. Also in literal use in 16c. English, “tail of a beast,” especially in heraldry. The Middle English metaphoric extension to “line of dancers” (c. 1500) led to extended sense of “line of people, etc.” (1837). Also used 18c. in sense of “braid of hair hanging down behind” (first attested 1748).

*Good point, Clicky…*

Having recently touched on Winston Churchill and rationing, I was interested to see the following attribution under ‘queue’…

Churchill is said to have coined Queuetopia (1950), to describe Britain under Labour or Socialist rule.


In the late 1940s the Conservative Party exploited and incited growing public anger at rationing, scarcity, controls, austerity and government bureaucracy. They used the dissatisfaction with the socialistic and egalitarian policies of the Labour Party to rally middle-class supporters and build a political comeback that won the 1951 general election. Their appeal was especially effective to housewives, who faced more difficult shopping conditions after the war than during it.

I wonder if it took a World War, followed by continued food scarcity to fully ingrain the importance of queuing into the British psyche?

Who knows, Dear Reader… Have a Song 😉

One thought on “Q Sixy Thang

  1. Ah. “Awfully Thorough Guide to Being British: Queueing” reminds me of a particularly joyful moment …..

    Imagine the M25 clockwise / southbound immediately before the junction with the A13 eastbound. [Note to readers across the pond – us Limeys drive on the left; and, you call motorways ‘Freeways’]

    As not unusual, both lanes wanting to leave the motorway before that junction were tailed-back for some considerable distance. Motorists & truckers patiently crawling towards the exit.

    Again, as is not unusual, the occasional arsehole would steam past the queue, then attempt to ‘cut-in’ at the last moment.

    On one particular occasion a queue-jumper tried it, but the car in front of me, & the trucker behind me spottted his (yup it was a fella) intention & ‘closed-up’ right by the exit.

    Consequently, said arsehole was trapped on the motorway, and had to continue along the M25.

    The schadenfreude at him having to waste more time than if he’d politely queued, and continue from Essex, south into Kent via the Dartford toll crossing, turn round, and then pay a second toll fee to get back into Essex was – delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

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