Posts Tagged ‘2008’

Hoxton 1948 Street Party

Tuesday, August 24th, 2021

No, I wasn’t taking pictures in 1948, nor was Hoxton’s 1948 street party taking place in 1948, but on Saturday 24th August 2008, the date marking the handover of the Olympics to London from Beijing where the 2008 Olympics had recently finished.

Hackney was one of the three boroughs – along with Tower Hamlets and Newham at the centre of the London 2012 Olympics, coming to London for the first time since 1948. The London Olympics then were very much run on a shoe-string in 1948, with a total budget of well under a million pounds – allowing for inflation probably rather less than a hundredth of the budget for 2012.

People in Hackney had decided to mark the event with a ‘1948 Street Party’ in Hoxton in the area of Hoxton Road where the market takes place (confusingly around half a mile from a street named Hoxton Market) and there were shops, museums and various local organisations taking part and putting on events and displays. And appropriately for a celebration of 1948 they organised their own ‘Austerity Olympics’ on the street, as well as some more serious boxing.

Hackney Council, being doctrinaire New Labour were of course appalled by the idea of a community initiative such as this. Their idea of politics was for people to put an X in the Labour box of the ballot paper and then sit back and let those they elected get on with running things to their advantage – without the people getting in the way of their schemes. So instead of backing a community initiative which might display what people thought about the forthcoming Olympics they snootily set up their own rival event in a park a few minutes walk away, with a giant screen relaying the events from Beijing.

There were two men waving Union Flags at the Hackney Council event.

I went to both, though most of the hour and a half I spent at the council event was an hour and a half of my life lost, tedious in the extreme, except for a short performance by a local kids group. There was a Chinese group with flags and a lion, but they seemed to be deliberately hidden away in a corner.

Back on Hoxton St, things were much more interesting, and very much a reminder of my own youth in the 1950s. I enjoyed a very nice cup of tea served in 1948 style china by a “nippy”, and in the street were tea parties (with free cakes) and displays of boxing, jitterbugging and various objects from the 1940s kitchen (almost all of which we still use at home, including a pastry blender – and no, it isn’t used to make bread.) Pearlies came in force and had a sing-song round the joanna.

And then there was the ‘Free Hackney Movement’ (aka Space Hijackers) who brought some serious politics to the event along with a ‘tank’. Here’s what I wrote about them in 2008:

The Free Hackney protest sees London 2012 as a great opportunity for property developers to rip us off and make obscene profits building luxury flats in the area, while at the same time restricting public access, closing down the existing free facilities and demolishing social housing and local businesses. So far its hard to argue against their case given the closure of local sports facilities including the closure of the Temple Mills cycle circuit and the removal of the Manor Gardens allotments and the wholesale clearance of small local firms which were based on Stratford Marsh

In 2008 I commented “The Olympic development has so far been something of a catastrophe for the area, and a lot has to be done to recover from this, let alone produce a positive outcome for the area.” Unfortunately most of what has been done since has borne out the fears and predictions that were made by the Free Hackney Movement and others back in 2008. London 2012 was a bonanza for the few but disrupted the lives of many in the three boroughs.

More at:
Hoxton Handover – 1948 Street party
Free Hackney Movement
Hackney Council Hoxton Handover


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.


No to the Crook, the Toff, The Fascist or Cop

Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

Protesters kettled outside City Hall as the Mayoral election results announced in 2008


London’s electors in a few days time will be faced with a rather bewildering array of candidates, with 20 names appearing on the ballot paper.

Ian Bone of Class War and banner ‘No to the Crook, the Toff, The Fascist or Cop’ 2008

Current mayor Sadiq Khan is hoping for re-election and his chances are probably good and he has enjoyed a good lead in opinion polls with a roughly 20-25% lead over his nearest rival, the Conservative Shaun Bailey. He could even get the 50% needed to win on the first preference votes and is likely to end up with over 60% when second preferences are included.

Anarchists raise the anti-fascist banner at City Hall 2008

Bailey, like Conservatives standing in the various elections around the country, is rather likely to pick up votes because of the success of the Covid vaccination rollout, a rather unfair consequence as it was Tory incompetence that really got us into the huge mess – with bodies piling up in mortuaries if not on the streets, and the NHS, which they have been doing their best to privatise out of existence over the years, which got ahead and got on with the jabs – and fortunately the government, having perhaps learnt a little from the test and trace debacle, let them get on with it rather than giving jobs to their mates.

It’s a slightly unusual voting system, with the second round of counting including only the two leading candidates. But it does mean that if you are a Khan supporter you could safely vote for any other candidate than Bailey as first preference, knowing that you second preference for Khan would count for him in the end.

Fitwatch hold their banner in front of the police photographer 2008

Opinion polls suggest that on this basis YouTuber Niko Omilana might come out third on the first preference votes, well above either the Green Party’s Sian Berry or Lib Dem Luisa Porritt, either of whom would clearly make rather better mayors than him.

Police TSG arrive to clear the area. 2008

The 15 other candidates seem unlikely to gain much benefit from the voting system and will almost certainly all lose their £10,000 deposit. They cover a wide range from various fringe parties, serious single-issue candidates to various more or less entertaining idiots such as Count Binface. Even at odds of 800 to 1 it isn’t worth betting on him.

Police arrest a man who had been sitting quietly by the river

Back in 2008 there were fewer candidates, but it was sadder times as London was announcing the election of its worst mayor yet, though at least he did continue some of the previous incumbent’s policies, and some of the advisers he employed were competent. But the years Johnson was mayor were something of a disaster for Greater London – which he has gone on to repeat for the country as a whole.

Some of the protesters were surrounded and held for several hours

The ‘No to the Crook, the Toff, The Fascist or Cop’ protest by anarchists had its moments of farce, beginning with the police photographer taking an unusual interest in me as I sat reading a paperback. I just happened to be in the middle of John Updike’s ‘Terrorist’ at the time. Although I clearly watched him taking pictures, when I later made a freedom of information request about this an other occasions I’ve been photographed, the answer came back that there were no pictures of me.

Others had escaped as police moved in and showed the banner from a balcony before going to the pub

You can read more about what happened and see more pictures on My London Diary:
No to the Crook, the Toff, The Fascist or Cop


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.


Missing Paris

Thursday, November 12th, 2020
1984

I’m missing Paris. My first visit there was in 1966, when I spent a week or two in a Protestant student hostel a few miles south of the centre with my future wife – though in separate double rooms, each with another of the same sex – and students from around the mainly Francophone world. After breakfast each day we took the train for the short journey to the Left Bank and spent the day as tourists in the city and nearby attractions, though mainly just walking around the city as we were both still penniless students.

Paris 2008

We lunched outdoors in parks and squares, buying baguettes and stuffing them with chocolate or pate as we couldn’t afford cafes or bars, eating cheap fruit for afters. We went out of Paris to Versailles, where I managed to drop my camera in the lake as we climbed into a boat to row around the lake. The boatman fished it out and handed it back to me as we got out of the boat, rather obviously expecting a reward, but all I could afford was my thanks. The camera never worked reliably after that, and it was five years before I could afford to replace it.

We returned to the hostel for an evening meal, which introduced me to some very strange dishes – and I think one evening as a special treat we were given a kind of horsemeat stew; it tasted fine, but I’ve never sought to repeat the experience. After dinner we crowded into a room with the rest of the inhabitants to watch the games of the World Cup, though I’d gone home before the final.

Quai de Jemappes / Rue Bichat, 10e, Paris, 1984

It was some years before we could afford another foreign holiday – we’d spent our honeymoon in Manchester with a day trip to the Lake District, a visit to Lyme Park and some walks around Glossop. But in 1973 we were back for a couple of weeks in Paris, this time at a hostel in the centre and sharing a room. We took with us the Michelin Guide (in French) and I think followed every walk in the book, which took us to places most tourists never reach – it was then much more thorough than the later English versions.

Monmartre, 1973

In 1973 I had two cameras with me. A large and clunky Russian Zenith B with its 58mm f/2 Helios lens and a short telephoto, probably the 85mm f2 Jupiter 9, but also the more advanced fixed lens rangefinder Olympus SP, with its superb 42mm f1.7 lens, a simple auto exposure system as well as full manual controls. I needed my Weston Master V exposure meter to work with the Zenith. You can see more of the photographs I took on my Paris Photos web site. Some of these pictures were in my first published magazine portfoliolater in 1973.

It was a while before we returned to Paris, though we went through it by train on our way to Aix-en-Provence and on bicycles from between stations on our way to the Loire Valley in the following couple of years. Then came two children, and it was 1984 before we returned to the city with them when I came to photograph my ‘Paris Revisited‘ a homage to one of the great photographers of Paris, Eugene Atget, which you can see in the Blurb Book and its preview as well as on my Paris Web site.

Placement libre-atelier galerie, Paris 2012

We returned to the city several times later in the 1980s and 1990s, and more regularly after 2000, when I went in several Novembers for a week, usually with my wife, to visit the large Paris Photo exhibition as well as many other shows which took place both as a part of the official event and its fringe. One week there I went to over 80 exhibitions, including quite a few openings.

La Villette, Canal St Martin, 19e, Paris 1984-paris285
1988

But the last time I was in Paris was in November 2012. Partly because Paris Photo changed and there seemed to be less happening around it in the wider city than in previous years. We’d planned to go in 2015 but were put off by Charlie Hebdo shooting and later the November terrorist attack. More attacks in 2018 also put us off visiting France, but we’d promised ourselves a visit to Paris in 2020 – and then came the virus.

88-8l-54-Edit_2400
1988

While I’ve been stuck at home since March, I have been visting France virtually, going back to my slides taken in 1974 in the South of France, of our ride up the Loire Valley in 1975 and of Paris in 1984, all of which are now on Flickr. Most recently I’ve returned to Paris in 1988, with over 300 black and white pictures from Paris and some of its suburbs.


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.


Iona – the Abbey

Friday, August 14th, 2020

Every time I peel an onion, something I do several times most weeks, it reminds me of our stay at Iona. As paying guests of the Iona Community at the Abbey we took our part in the daily chores which kept the place running, and each morning after breakfast I went with the other ‘Otters’ – the work group to which I had been assigned to the kitchen to prepare vegetables. My part in this job seemed always to be one of two or three of us peeling onions – and you need a lot of onions to cook vegetarian meals for around 50 or 60 people.

There are a lot of dodges that people advise to avoid tears when peeling onions, and I think I tried them all. They may help if you are only peeling one or two, but none help if you have a mountain of them to get through. You cry, and crying only makes it worse. Still, I think I preferred it to cleaning the lavatories and washrooms that my partner was assigned to.

The Abbey is essentially a twentieth-century reconstruction carried out by teams of volunteers from the Iona Community after the site with its ruins was gifted to the Church of Scotland by the 8th Duke of Argyll in 1899, with more modern living accommodation built alongside it in a matching external style.

The Duke is still present – in marble, lying beside his wife.

As well as the abbey, alongside it is a small church, the oldest building on Iona (c 1150) with an ancient graveyard where 48 Kings of Scotland were buried. They were joined more recently by Labour leader John Smith; a boulder marks his grave with the message “An Honest Man’s The Noblest Work of God”.

There are ruins of another chapel in the grounds, as well as those of a former Bishop’s House, and splendid views across the sound to Mull, enough to drag me out of bed for a short walk before breakfast (and onions.) And of course there were a number of short religious services, optional but an important part of the experience, though with too much unaccompanied singing for my taste.

More pictures in and around the Abbey from our visit 12 years ago on My London Diary.



More from May Days: 2008

Monday, May 4th, 2020

Continuing my short series of posts about previous May Day celebrations in London that I photographed.

I photographed them after they had photographed me

As usual the London May Day committee had organised a march from Clerkenwell Square and my day started with police photographing me as I arrived to photograph the event. As I commented:

It’s hard to see any real point in this other than a kind of mild intimidation of journalists and difficult not to regard it as an attack on free speech and the freedom of the press. Definitely a distortion of the role of the police in a free society, it is also one that distracts them from the vital tasks they have at the present time.

TUC May Day March

Numbers on the march were lower than in previous years, perhaps because it was also a day when elections were taking place in London, and the weather probably didn’t help. But there were those with trade union banners, including the sacked Gate Gourmet workers. As usual there were large groups of marchers from the Turkish and Kurdish communities, and I particularly liked the picture at the top of this post, but there are many more of them on My London Diary.

Many accounts of May Day write about its origins with the The Second International calling for a commemoration of the Haymarket Martyrs as an international workers day, but seldom mention its special significance for the Turkish groups:

For Turkish groups, the day also commemorates the 1977 Taksim Square massacre, when around 40 people in a crowd of around half a million celebrating May Day were killed and around 200 injured by firing from the Hotel International. None of those responsible has been brought to justice but both Turkish secret police and CIA have been implicated. At least at the moment our own police are only using cameras.

As the marchers left Clerkenwell on their way to Trafalgar Square I made my way to one of my least favourite areas of London, Mayfair, where the Space Hijackers had announced a celebration, a recreation of the Mayfayres which gave the area its name and were banned in  1708 because of their boisterous disorder.

Camilla and Boris took turns in the stocks

They had made their plans after Police Commander Bob Broadhurst had attempted to justify the very different policing of pro-Tibet and pro-Chinese protesters during the Olympic Torch debacle in London by claiming the pro-China group were not restricted because they were celebrating rather than protesting. As I commented in 2008 on My London Diary:

As their various events over the years have shown, the Space Hijackers do a rather ace job of celebrating, although they haven’t always had the same cooperation from the police as those upholding human rights abuse by China – or even football supporters. For this year’s May Fayre, police even supplied a comprehensive photographic service, although the price (I believe £10) of obtaining your pictures from them by a Freedom of Information request seems rather high, especially considering the poor quality of results I’ve seen. As I think my pictures demonstrate, it’s often better to use a wide-angle rather than the extreme telephoto “peeping toms” favoured by police photographers.

They were also seen searching a few people, possibly to enforce the fancy dress code, but otherwise just seemed to be standing around the area – particularly across the access roads – and carrying out a useful role in preventing traffic from disrupting the festivities while letting those on foot walk in and out as they wished.


It was a fun event, and even some of the police appeared to enjoy it (and the overtime they were getting for watching what was an entirely peaceful and well-organised event – even if they maypole dancing could have done with more practice) though as in the morning we were all getting extensively and obtrusively photographed. I’ve often wondered what they do with all these images, but they are rather secretive and embarrassed about them. Despite having photographed me many times on numerous occasions, on the only time I bothered to make a Freedom of Information request and paid my £10 they were unable to find a single picture.

Mayfair Mayfayre – Space Hijackers
TUC May Day March


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.