Yesterday I took a day's annual leave. The peace protest was setting out at 2 pm and I beetled down there for a bit. Like the Rev. Jesse Jackson said last year, you've gotta keep on with this if you're going to get anywhere.
While I waited for friends and covered myself in protest stickers ("Bush Off! Blair Out"; "A Killer comes to town..."; "St*p Bu$h"), the roads filled at an exponential rate as participants of all ages thronged to the rendezvous. Pretty soon Malet Street was over capacity and we joined a detour to an overspill area. The noise wound up and never really dropped for the next four and a half hours as everyone ambled off.
Not so many pre-printed placards this time, lots of personal sentiment ("I fart in your general direction"; "Estate Agents against Bush" were personal favourites), plenty of costume, mummers with a papier-mache cannon, everyone considerate to eachother and angry with the regime. 1984 had arrived about 17 years late, but we're living in a tribute from Mad George to sane, eternal war and endless lies for a diet.
Nuns at the windows of the Quaker's (who's gonna burn in Hell, girls? Us or them?). Whistles, every other person's got a whistle, I've got a whistle and we're whistling phrases to the drums, passing a refrain back and forth, sure, they can hear us.
Malet Street, loudspeakers outside the UCL Halls, impromptu live rap, nuff respect. On the street are a couple of bits of paper, wow! "Fraudulent Event Note" worth "One (BIG) Deception", "9-11" in every corner, Bush instead of Lincoln, swastikas on his tie, this dollar bill is an absolute work of art. On the back, faintly under the upper 9-11s, "Bush knew", under the lower "Cheney did it". Yeah, I'll buy that on the evidence. Don't forget that little rat-fucker Guiliani either.
Reading a lot of popular opinion, most dumb-fuck telly-dribblers haven't quite caught up with the real program, but here are 100,000 (police est.) to 300,000 (organiser est) folk that can think their way out of a paper bag. Sick and tired and angry with the blatant stupidity of it all; we're on a runaway train and need to get a sprag in those wheels. We think plenty noise helps a good deal towards this.
British Museum, Aldwych, Strand, Waterloo Bridge and round the IMAX, onwards and loud as you like, Thames sparkling in the lights of the South Bank, wind turbine spinning in Jubilee Gardens. It's new, daresay our Ken ("Red" Ken Livingstone, leader of London, formerly same of GLC), organised that as a subtle hint to the residents of old County Hall, converted to expensive apartments in a fit of spite by Thatcher's scum. Looks great. Must go all night, swoosh-swoosh-swoosh.
A pink wood and cardboard field gun immobilised. Hard work, guys.
Back over Westminster Bridge and past Parliament, noise at a crescendo, then up Whitehall. A solitary pro-Bush supporter, flanked by 6 police, it's quite ok with us freedom-loving sorts. Here we go, up to Downing Street and someone says "Boo" and another "Boo" and then everyone booing in a pantomime fashion as we pass. Same treatment for the American flag further along. More of the same for the British flag. Partisan we ain't.
Another diversion and an enormous crescendo, then we're there at Trafalgar Square, 6:30 and we've missed all the speeches and pillorying, but we had suits lugging laptop bags, office workers joining and extending the march. Music til close of play at 7 pm, we chilled and danced to Primal Scream's "Screamadelica" before heading to favourite bars and the satisfaction of a good day's work.
Two young American guys outside a bar in Cambridge Circus, want to know what it's all about. We tell them, oh they have some choice things to say, like that damn brother in Florida cheating GWB into office, they're still sore about it. They're from Ohio, they don't know about Diebold. I tell 'em. They're speechless. Poor fuckers, they've got to go back and deal with that too.