The Rich don’t care

March 18th, 2020

The main event I had come to Mayfair to cover was the continuing dispute at one of the most exclusive of clubs, LouLou’s, where the IWGB Cleaners and Facilities Branch was holding one of a series of protests on behalf of the kitchen porters who work there.

The porters want a living wage and to be treated with dignity and respect and given decent terms and conditions including proper sick pay, holidays and pension contributions.

LouLou’s is an exclusive club and membership is apparently only available to people who are regarded as celebrities and they include some well-known names. What they appear to have in common, from their reactions as they were escorted past the protesters is any regard for the people who work long and unsocial hours to service their needs.

And of course they are also people to who spend silly amounts of money on their own entertainment – the annual subscription to the club is £1800 and a gin and tonic costs £20 – but begrudge the workers a living wage. That £20 drink is over two hours wages for a kitchen porter.

The club tried to play a very hard game, suspending some of the workers – all migrants – on trumped up charges in August. But the protests and an online petition:

Migrant workers at Brexiteer millionaire Robin Birley’s 5 Hertford Street club have been suspended on trumped up charges. #5HeartlessStreet

Their crime? Demanding a living wage & sick pay.
Sign & help end this injustice

increased the pressure. And on December 11th the IWGB made an announcement:

11 December: The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has called off strikes planned for today and tomorrow at 5 Hertford Street, as it consults members following an offer from the club.

5 Hertford Street has offered its kitchen porters the London Living Wage from January 2020, 5 days sick pay, and regular quarterly consultations with the union on terms and conditions.

https://iwgb.org.uk/post/5df0d186b3f7c/5-hertford-street-concedes-top

More at IWGB at Mayfair club Loulou’s


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Defending the Indefensible

March 17th, 2020

It just hadn’t occurred to me that there would be protesters defending Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, hereafter MbS, the man responsible for sending a team of assassins to kill and then dismember with bone saws the body of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd 2018.

Of course their state-sponsored posters and placards – including two large electronic screens strapped to two men didn’t mention the killing, nor MbS’s other purges, including the 2017 arrest of business leaders and other prominent Saudi figures in what he called an anti-corruption campaign, the kidnapping of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in 2017 and more – including recent arrests of yet more leading Saudi figures who he sees as possible rivals.

So when I first walked up to their noisy protest I misunderstood their reason for being there. I couldn’t of course understand what they were shouting, and it was only after I read the posters that I realised they had come to support MbS and not to protest against a cruel dictator.

Of course some of them may have had good personal reasons for supporting MbS. Saudi businessmen operating in the UK may well be profiting from his economic reforms and support his Vision 2030 for a Saudi Arabia that in some respects will modernise, largely in the interests of business. Some of those taking part will be working for the Saudi government and companies such as Saudi Aramco, supposedly the most profitable company in the world, though this position is perhaps under threat by MbS’s current oil war with Russia. And some may have been paid for their evening’s work.

Certainly if you are a Saudi citizen and have any intention of returning to that country in the future, being seen as a supporter of MbS rather than an opponent will be vital for your health – as the brutal Khashoggi murder testifies. You need to be seen (and filmed) to be on the right side.


Justice for Jamal Khashoggi

On the anniversary of Khashoggi’s death, a small group of protesters on the opposite side of the road stood in a quiet line in front of the Embassy garden holding posters, and later burning nightlights, in a silent vigil for the cruelly murdered journalist. It was a small but dignified and rather more impressive display than the PR event taking place opposite.


More on both events:
Saudis support killer Prince MBS
Justice For Jamal Khashoggi


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

Brighton 1983

March 16th, 2020

Here’s one I made earlier. I’d forgotten completely about this image, taken on a family trip to Brighton, but came across it in my archive on hard disk when I was looking for something else a few days ago, and thought it looked interesting.

But I was busy with other things and didn’t make a note of the file name, and when I decided I would share the picture I couldn’t find it. I spent an hour late last night looking through folder after folder of images. It didn’t fit any of the categories I have, and I went to bed annoyed with myself for not being able to find it.

I spent another half hour this morning. If only when I scanned images back in 2012 I had added some metadata. I’d thought a little more about when I’d taken the image, and thought it was almost certainly when we had two young German girls staying with us, some time in the early 1980s. I couldn’t exactly remember the year, but it was easy to track down some of the pictures I’d taken of them playing with my own children.

It still wasn’t easy to recognise this image from the small thumbnail in File Explorer’s ‘Large Icons’ mode, which was on its side and rather low in contrast, and I wasn’t sure I had found it until I double-clicked to load it into FastPictureViewer Pro and see it full-screen.

I wasn’t surprised to find that I hadn’t retouched the scan and there were as usual quite a few blemishes, particularly noticeable in the sky area. Usually I retouch images on a second computer which has a small Wacom Graphire pad and stylus, and is still on Windows 7 – I can’t get this old pad to work on Windows 10. I couldn’t be bothered to switch to that machine for a single image, so I did the retouching using a mouse. It made me realise why I normally use the Wacom pad.

Then I saved the image, resized it to post online (the original is roughly one hundred times the number of pixels), converted to 8 bit sRGB and made the mistake of saving it again over the original file. Fortunately on a drive connected to the other machine I had a backup. So I had to start that machine to restore the original file, and before I did so used the stylus and pad to do a slightly better and rather easier retouch.

Back in 1983 we were of course working with film, and when I took this picture I couldn’t be sure I had caught the moment. It surprises me now that this was the only frame I took, but of course I was on Brighton Palace Pier with a group of people most of whom were more interested in ice creams and silly hats than taking pictures, and some were probably pulling at my arms as I stopped to make this exposure with my Olympus OM1 on Ilford FP4.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


London October

March 16th, 2020

I don’t go out a great deal at night now, and mainly its when I’m out with friends and taking few pictures. I like to be at home and sitting down to a good dinner and a glass or two of a decent red wine. I quite like eating out, but the food at home is usually better and the wine almost always so, even at prices for a bottle you might pay for a large glass in a restaurant.

I’d hoped to be at home and at table by the time I left the protest in Chalk Farm. I left partly because there wasn’t a great deal going on, but mainly because the light had sunk to levels where working without flash had become more or less impossible and I was hungry. I don’t like winter and shorter days, but at least you don’t have to stay out so late if you want to take night pictures.

There is I think only one picture taken from the train as it goes through Vauxhall or Nine Elms in this month’s selection; perhaps the train windows were dirtier this month. But there are other pictures of the fast-changing area still under development, even the one above on Vauxhall Station itself. It gives a good idea of how vertical parts of the city are becoming.

There are several of Vauxhall and Lambeth across the river, including one with this Henry Moore piece in the foreground. I think the only thing still visible from when I first walked this way is Vauxhall Bridge itself, even the walkway and the river wall have been rebuilt.

London’s buses give a unique viewpoint on the city, and there is no need to spend large sums on open-top private operators to enjoy it. London’s buses are cheap, and a travelcard gives you a day’s unlimited access, though pictures like that above will fall foul of TfL’s over-zealous legalistic protection of its copyright symbol. Were I making some commercial use of it rather than posting an image on a non-commercial blog there might be a case to answer.

Many more pictures, including some slightly different views of a few well-known landmarks as well as some of London’s more obscure streets, such at the one above.

London Images


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

Requiem For A Bee

March 15th, 2020

Getting to Clissold Park in Stoke Newington isn’t the most convenient of London journeys, at least not if you are in a hurry. And having been at Euston to photograph the HS2 protest it took me a while to arrive there – the Underground to Manor Park, a bus ride and then a run (or rather a mixture of walking and running we used to call ‘Scout’s pace’) across the park.

But events were running late, and I was pleased and surprised to find that the funeral procession to Stoke Newington Town Hall that should have left just over 15 minutes earlier was only just forming up. And I had another 5 minutes to recover my breath before it finally moved off.

The bee in question was apparently the Red Girdled Mining Bee, previously found in Abney Park Cemetery was now extinct there due to loss of habitat with increasing development in Hackney. It was a local example of species extinction that is occurring on a huge scale world-wide as a result of human activities destroying ecosystems and increasingly from the changes in weather and climate from global heating due to rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Although I could see the idea of concentrating on a small local example, I did rather wonder how clearly and powerfully it would communicate with the many citizens of Stoke Newington going about their daily business who saw the procession, though other aspects were clearer from many of the placards and banners. But Extinction Rebellion does sometimes seem to be a very much a highly successful movement of the educated middle class making relatively little connection with the bulk of the population.

After the funeral orations at the Town Hall, the procession and the coffin moved on down Stoke Newington Church St and up Stoke Newington High St to the wonderful Egyptian-style listed 1840s cemetery gates. It was a shame that the protest did not take greater advantage of the location and pose with their various banners and flags.

Rather it slid uneasily into the kind of new-age reflection and meditation that while it may appeal to some gets very much up my nose. As I commented on My London Diary, “Had I been protesting rather than photographing the event I would have left for a pint. ” I hung on hoping that something more interesting might happen, but it didn’t. While this aspect of XR may go down well with some I think it probably causes many to avoid it. But perhaps it’s just me.

More at Requiem for a Bee.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Feb 2020: My London Diary

March 14th, 2020

February’s event are now completed on ‘My London Diary‘ thanks to a few days I’ve taken off going out to take more photographs. It’s getting harder for me to go out and take pictures at night or in bad weather and I’m also getting a little pickier about what I cover. This month’s list is around half as long as some others.

I’ve also been busy with some other things – getting a small show of work ready for next month (here’s the invite) and putting quite a few more of my old pictures at a decent size on Flickr.

feb 2020

Against the Anti-Muslim pogrom in Delhi
Earth Strike target Glencore

Green Anti-Capitalists Rally Against Capital
University teachers march for Education
City Inter-Livery Pancake Race
Enough is Enough XR march

Don’t Extradite Assange
St Georges’s Hospital Security Guards
Wandle Wander
Youth Strike for Climate
Bermondsey Walk

BP Must Fall!
End Jamaican Charter Flight deportations
Tamils Sri Lanka Independence Day protest
Battersea, Chelsea and Kensington
No To Jamaica Deportation Flights
Nine Elms

Palestinians against Trump’s Deal

London Images


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Private view cancelled

March 13th, 2020

I’m not sure what to make of our Government’s response to the virus, but everyone else seems to be taking it more seriously and cancelling events which bring numbers of members of the public together.

Hilary Rosen and I have had to cancel the private view for our exhibition at The Street Gallery, UCLH, which was to have taken place next Thursday.

Unless the situation changes drastically the show will still go ahead and you can view it any time from 19th March -22nd April 2020 at University College Hospital, 235 Euston Road, London NW1 2BU – just opposite Warren St Underground.

It may be possible to hold a private view at the end of the show, but I rather think this is unlikely.

HS2

March 13th, 2020

Lord Adonis has a lot to answer for, a rival to Failing Grayling who also served as Secretary of State for Transport – from 2016 to 2019. Adonis regards himself as “the architect of HS2” and published the original plan around ten years ago during the then new Labour government. It is down to him that we have the pigs ear which is HS2 rather than a modern railway that would be a great asset to our infrastructure.

Some protesters came with trees

HS2 as presently planned is crazy. It doesn’t connect with HS1, so we will eventually need to build a new connection there. It doesn’t run into Birmingham New Street, and the time saved by the faster transit into Curzon St will be lost for passengers requiring onward services there. And while the high-speed trains will be able to continue their journeys on existing track further north, they will actually be slower on these than the existing tilting stock.

One campaigner was dressed as a tree

There were alternative routes that would have worked better and certainly been more friendly to the environment, but these were dismissed under Adonis apparently without proper investigation. And it would have been better to have started by sorting out existing northern routes where the need is greater. We already have two working routes to Birmingham from London, from either Euston or Marylebone.

London-Birmingham is really too short a trip for the huge cost of a high-speed 300km/h connection to be worthwhile, they saving in time been too short. Currently the fastest services make the journey in 1 hr 22 mins, and that time could almost certainly be shortened by relatively small changes in to the existing route and signalling. The distance is 161km and the current average speed of the fastest services is only 118 km/h, using trains capable of over 200km/h.

Chris Packham gave me 3 acorns to plant but we have too many trees in our garden already

The protest at Euston led by Chris Packham and The Woodland Trust was over the environmental damage being caused by destruction of ancient woodlands on its route, taking place at a time when the whole HS2 project was still in doubt and was precipitated by the imminent destruction of South Cubbington Wood, due to be destroyed on 9th October. This is one of 30 classified ancient woodlands among a total of 108 woods to be wholly or partly lost to HS2. And the felling was put on hold.

Since then, the project has been given the go-ahead by Boris Johnson and is likely to be too far advanced by the time we get a new government to make some sensible changes. But I have a horrible feeling it may just end up as a huge white elephant.

More on the protest: HS2 threatens ancient Woodland


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Mooning for Soldier F

March 12th, 2020

I hadn’t come up to London to photograph ‘Operation Zulu’, a protest against the prosecution of ‘Soldier F’ for the murder of civil rights protesters in Londonderry on ‘Bloody Sunday’ in 1972, but since I was in London I did take a brief walk through Parliament Square and Whitehall. And stopped to take a few photographs, mainly of a small group ‘mooning’ on the roof of an armoured vehicle. And to wonder why they called this ‘Operation Zulu’.

I remember going to see the film Zulu back in 1964, I thought at the Dominion Cinema in Hounslow, but memory is fallible as that apparently closed in 1961 (though this fine Art Deco building was only demolished after 45 years as a Bingo club in 2007), so perhaps it was the Regal. The film itself although based on history is incorrect in many aspects, and though the courage of the defenders of Rourke’s Drift is undeniable, the Zulu War it took place in was one of the worse aspects of our colonial past.

The man responsible for it has a statue I often walk past, in the Embankment gardens close to Northumberland Avenue, though I suspect few who walk past could tell you anything about Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere. He was sent to South Africa as High Commissioner for the British Empire  to carry out a British plan to combine all of the south of the continent into a Canada-style federation. Frere took advantage of postal delays between South Africa and the UK to carry out his unauthorise policy, sending the King of Zululand a completely unacceptable ultimatum which amounted to a declaration of war, and then sent in the British Army.

Despite the Zulus being equipped largely with spears, clubs and hide shields against British firepower of breech-loading rifles and a couple of field guns, the first battle resulted in a great Zulu victory – as Wikipedia puts it, “The British Army had suffered its worst defeat against an indigenous foe with vastly inferior military technology“. The successful defence of Rourke’s Drift (the subject of the film) did much to restore British morale and a much stronger force was then dispatched to finally defeat the Zulus.

Frere was censured but allowed to stay on for long enough to cause several other wars across the area, including the disastrous First Boer War before being finally recalled to London, where he was eventually dismissed by Prime Minister Gladstone and censured by Whitehall for his disastrous actions in South Africa and policies he advocated over Afghanistan which had led to the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972, when British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians during a protest march against internment without trial, is a more recent shameful episode in British history. The Tory governent recently announced that soldiers would be granted protection against prosecution for any alleged historic offences, except for those in the Northern Ireland “troubles”. Although there have clearly been some cases where the allegations made against soldiers have been unfounded, where there is significant genuine evidence there should be no immunity from prosecution.

If anything I think there is more justification in providing protection against prosecution for crimes committed by both sides in Northern Ireland than for the crimes against civilians in Iraq and other overseas conflicts the army have been sent to. We need peace in NI, and there needs to be a reconciliation between the two communities . Post-Brexit I think that also means a united Ireland, though it may take some years for this to arrive.

More pictures at Veterans Moon for Soldier F


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Climate Rally for the Imagination

March 11th, 2020

Climate Rally for the Imagination was organised for artists, designers, musicians, cultural workers and leaders to propose creative individual and collective responses to the climate emergency.

There were some heavy showers before the event began, with water on the paving giving reflections, which was good, but also getting on cameras and lenses which wasn’t.

But fortunately it stopped for a while as the event got going, as some of those taking part did look a little wet and bedraggled, probably including this photographer.

There were some interesting performances, including from folk singer Sam Lee, and some interesting presentations from people working with arts-based projects as well as at least one that seemed to me to be away with the fairies. But Extinction Rebellion has a very wide range of supporters.

Several people read from their contributions to the book ‘Letters to the Earth’ and perhaps the event became a little too much like a book promotion. But there were a number of contributions from others, about the protests over BP sponsorship of museums and culture, with a student involved speaking about the letter threatening a boycott of the Royal Shakespeare Company by school climate strikers which got the company to drop BP in days.

Another speaker had written to the Arts Council over its failure to recognise the vital importance of combating climate change through the activities it sponsors, while architect Michael Pawlyn gave a challenging analysis of current architectural practices and their contribution to climate change, spressing the newd for a new ‘regenerative architecture’.

Among those contributing to the book was environmental lawyer Farhana Yamin, arrested for protesting against Shell with Extinction Rebellion in April.

Climate Rally for the Imagination