In 2011 I stood outside St Paul’s Cathedral where the Occupy Movement had set up camp in the forecourt. It was a time of hope, seminars and vibrant discussion. The Arab Spring was happening and revolution was in the air.
Yesterday, I had a slight sense of dejavu when I took my camera to Marble Arch to shoot the Extinction Rebellion occupation of the roundabout and the top end of Oxford St in London.
The occupation was ordered, happy, a little sweaty after having been in the sun for a sunny Easter Weekend. It was full of happy young people arguing about whether they should end their occupation and come back next week or continue the occupation.
Each workshop was accompanied by posters and tents, then there were the free hugs and t-shirts. You can see the full set of pictures – by clicking the picture below.
Apparently, there is a Chinese proverb that says – may you live in turbulent times. Or maybe it doesn’t but the last 12 months has been a solid demonstration-fest as the country splits and disagrees about everything. I realised today that I have covered umpteen demos, marches and protests.
Its only March and I have already been to 2 major demos – who knows how many more there will be this year.
Today, the 29th March was supposed to be Brexit Day. Except, because of 3 failed Meaningful Votes, or perhaps votes with no meaning, in Parliament Brexit has been deferred – and/or cancelled.
Last week I shot the People’s Vote March so this week I decided to go to the Brexit supporting demo in Parliament Square. The People’s Vote march was reportedly 1 million people, the Brexit demo, several thousand.
The demos were materially different, the Remain, full of families and young children. The Brexit demo, full of angry (generally) men. I was frightened, I have to say, there was a definite sense that the media and photographers were not particularly welcome.
The demos filling the square and the bottom of Whitehall were in fact 2 demos. First a Tommy Robinson Brexit Demo and a Vote Leave demo. Plus there was a rather bizarre French Demo in favour of Brexit. The Vote Leave Demo had a number of speakers I had heard of including the arch priest of Brexit – Nigel Farage.
I have just come back from shooting the People’s Vote Demo in London on Saturday. Normally, I would blog about the wacky, snarky, sarcastic and funny placards that I saw. There probably will be a post about that however I wanted to highlight something that I noticed and have noticed at various Remainer demos.
Where are the Union Jacks?
When you go to a Remainer demo it is clear that they are for Europe by the number of EU flags that they carry.
So there were the odd Union Flag they were out numbered 20 or 30 to 1.
Why is this? When I look at myself, I realise that I really don’t like Brexit, but I am very proud of being British, English and I really love my flag. Many years ago I used to go to an American/International School and would wear a Union Flag badge on my jacket.
But if I compare this with the right-wing demo that I covered last year, you see a sea of Union Flags or St George’s Flags.
I absolutely disagree with the sentiments of the posters, however there is a definite pride in the Union Flag or St George’s Flag. Why is this?
Why do the Remainers feel uncomfortable with showing the Union Flag?
Why are the centre and left uncomfortable with carrying the flag?
I know I am proud of being a Brit and have no fear of standing under the flag. Yes Britain, isn’t. the most worthy nation in the world, however in the Remainers not being willing to stand under the flag, they do rather make the point of the Brexiteers about being more interested in Europe than their own nation.
The Central Station pub near Kings Cross is an amazing little venue. I really like going to Vicious Von Vixen’s cabaret and burlesque show. The quality of the show is always very very high and the atmosphere is totally electric. I have been a few times and always say that I will leave as soon as the show is over but I always seem to be on the last train home from Paddington after the show.
Another day another shoot at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern where I was lucky enough to be asked to shoot Busty and Ginger’s show.
Busty and Ginger are amazing and the rightful winners of last years Pride’s Got Talent . It was a two hander and they really managed to fill the stage. Gingers performance of playing the piano with her bust has to be seen to be believed.
I probably say this for all the shows I go to, however if you don’t go to their show when you have a chance – you need to have your head examined.
I was lucky enough to be asked to shoot the Royalz Variety Show at the Royal Victoria Tavern, sometimes just known as the RVT. It was a mind shattering experience, wild, challenging, a bit frightening and even educational – who knew that I would learn about Pakistani Pop Tunes from the 1980s at a cabaret gig.
If you get the chance to see the Royalz you really should go, it is amazing as I hope you will see from the photos.
My day job is in the City of London, one of the wealthiest places on earth.
Everyday I walk through Liverpool St station with thousands of other people all heading for their jobs. We are all pretty well clothed, pretty well paid and generally pretty pretty.
There is though an undercurrent, amidst the riches of the city. You don’t have to look too hard to find it, but find it you can. The other day when there was snow on the ground a bloke was on the Tube begging. He was wet, dishevelled and smelly. He hadn’t been able to sleep because of the snow.
Last week I took a detour on the way to work to take some photographs. Amongst the colourful signs and witty graffiti I came across the following sight
At first I wasn’t sure what it was, it was only when I looked again that I saw amongst the bundle of rags 3 legs. Yes there were 2 men sleeping in this grotty alcove under one sleeping bag.
It seems that in the wealthiest part of the UK very true that in the midsts of riches we are in poverty.