Another November the 5th gone and another “quiet” walk around London with the indomitable Old Holborn, Olly Cromwell, Katabasis and others whose presence has been erased by alcohol (remind me if you want) – which was an utter blast. As has become our want we met in the pleasing environs of Chandos to exchange niceties, don costumes and imbibe a bracing drink before braving the autumnal air. Our dapper and well presented crew headed off down Whitehall, pausing to admire the security in place at that bastion of democracy that is Downing street. Setting the theme for the day they didn’t seem pleased to see us, undeterred we continued unto the very doors of the palace of Westminster where some terribly nice people told us that as the politicans don’t work on a Saturday it’d cost us 15 quid a head to get in:
We decided that such princely sums could be better spent on beer so ignoring the advice of the police officer at the entrance we decided to forgo Weatherspoons and head for the Westminster arms, stopping for a photo outside the gates of Westminster which were also closed to us. Our photographic endeavours it seems didn’t make us popular as these not very happy chaps came out to make sure went on our way:
And go on our way we did, to the very pub we’d already mentioned to the nice police officer on the door. This message obviously hadn’t been passed along to the gate as the three stooges had to follow us past the Abbey at which point they realised that they were quite conspicuous in their hi-vis vests and we had in fact noticed them, this prompted a sudden interest in architecture on their part and I suspect whistling as they waited for a van so they could follow us even more discretely:
Once we were actually in the pub, the van drove slowly by, presumably to ensure our safety. Suitably refreshed we decided to head over to St Pauls to see how those terribly earnest chaps at #OccupyLSX were doing. Th police there looked an awful lot more bored than those we’d encountered over at Westminster. It all looked terribly organised with lots of people with lovely camera’s smart phones and laptops wandering around and speeches! Not wanting to miss the speeches we grabbed a quick coffee in Starbucks (this tipped some people off that we may not have had quite the same “values” as them) and found a handy spot to listen from. Avoiding the purveyors of placards that were roaming the steps Old Holborn revealed he’d thought to bring a banner with him, and so unfurled that to show our solidarity with the occupiers. For the record as was discussed our group generally actually agree with a lot of the complaints (bank bailouts being bad, the government being shit), it’s just the conclusions and what to do about it being where we part company.
Not having straws with us, it turned out to be quite tricky to drink coffee with a mask on, but fear not some of our group had found a way round this by heading off to a pub. Coffee’s finished and regrouped we wandered back to see if the speeches had got better, stopping to grab a drink to take with us in case they hadn’t. A fortuitous action as it meant we were well placed to join the march it turns out they were having. As we were all of robust stuff and had already been out for a bracing walk we quickly found ourselves at the front of the march with Old Holborns banner. Setting a reasonable pace the Occupy crowd seemed quite happy to let us stay there, from the top of fleet street and along Strand:
Well I say quite happy, we were apparently going a little fast for them and the poor dears had trouble keeping up, my choice of what to video was also a matter of debate. But that aside it was all terribly friendly until someone worked out how to read the banner and noticed we weren’t chanting the same as everyone else. At which point we were accused of being members of the EDL (Nope we don’t understand that one either) and it seems that freedom of speech and such didn’t extend to us and there were two attempts to forceably remove the banner from the front of the march, neither of which went very well though they did knock old Holborns hat off (terribly uncouth these #Occupy types):
Mind as you can see from the previous video at least one of the other marchers actually bothered to talk to OH to get his side of things, and seemed to find some sense in OH’s explanation. But despite that we made it safely to Trafalgar square were as we’d already visited Westminster, we thought we’d leave them to it and maybe go and refresh ourselves from our ordeal in a certain convivial hostelry of which we knew. However before that could come to pass and apologise for the very poor quality of the following video I had a rather pleasant chat with some of the “Anonymous” marchers regarding my status as an agent provocateur.
Just for the record I’m not, as that’d be far too much work. And thus ended a rather splendid days outing in London (well it ended quite a few pints later but…) The rest of my photo’s from the day can be found here.
I really do need more practice at taking videos.