Odd happenings in London

One of the great things about walking around London is that things happen. You turn a street corner and meet the unexpected.

On Saturday I was standing on the spot where I think Ian Tomlinson died, perhaps around a hundred yards from the floral tributes to him at the end of Royal Exchange buildings, where he was assaulted, I think for the second or third time, by a police officer. I wasn’t there, but I’ve read the accounts of some who were and viewed many of the videos and still images on the web from that day.

After receiving some help from nearby demonstrators (the police at that point appear to have simply laughed at his injured and confused state)  he managed to stagger east down Cornhill, finally collapsing outside Starbucks or a neighbouring shop.  Again some protesters went to his aid and finally police medics came to assist. He was taken into the mouth of St Michael’s Alley and, too late, an ambulance was called and allowed through the barriers.

© 2009 Peter Marshall

Suddenly a group of people came along the alley, each bearing a single red rose, and crossed the road to stop at Starbucks. I photographed them and followed, thinking at first it was a tribute to Tomlinson I hadn’t heard about. Outside Starbuck’s we were treated to a highly moving performance of one of Shakespeare’s sonnets about the death  of a young woman – and there was a picture of her and flowers taped to the shopfront.

Apparently by coincidence, this location had been chosen as one of a number on a trail from the Globe Theatre around various performances to celebrate the birthday of Shakespeare next Thursday. And I’m pleased to report that I was told that, unlike Ian Tomlinson, the young woman in the picture is still very much alive.  I left the actor waiting to repeat his performance with the next group. More pictures on My London Diary.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.
Clogs and cheese

April 18 was presumably chosen for a kind of Dutch trade fair in Trafalgar Square because Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) is celebrated on April 30, so perhaps that was thought close enough. Like other such ‘events’ it was a depressing spectacle, and I really only went there to use the public toilet, still free unlike most others in Westminster. Frankly, apart from some of the cheese (and too much of that reminds me more of soap) there was little to attract. The Amsterdam Orange Festival on Queen’s Day sounds far more interesting, with huge numbers of people dressed in orange and unregulated street trading across the city. Or perhaps we should have a Trafalgar Square event held in November in conjunction with Amsterdam’s High Times Cannabis Cup?

But there was another Orange event in London the same day which was perhaps more interesting.  More details in my next post.

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