Posts Tagged ‘street party’

Valentine for Venus

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Like everyone else at this year’s Reclaim Love street party I was delighted that Venus CuMara, who founded this remarkable annual street party back in 2004 was there, and to hug her and to hear her speak.

I missed that first event in 2004 as I was in Paris with my wife for Valentine’s Day and her birthday a few days later. This year was the 16th ‘Reclaim Love’ free Valentine’s Day street party and like all except I think the first which began in Trafalgar Square, took place around the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus, with drumming, music, dancing poetry to celebrate reclaim love as a manifestation of the human spirit from the sleazy commercialisation which has taken over Valentine’s Day as a festival of profit.

Many of us still have the free t-shirts which were handed out to all who wanted them at several of these events, with their message “MAY ALL THE BEINGS IN ALL THE WORLDS BE HAPPY AND AT PEACE, though mine is now a little stained and doesn’t often get worn.

It was this same mantra that was repeated as those present made a large circle around Piccadilly Circus to share Venus’s message of peace and love around the world. Venus called it a “Massive Healing Reclaim Love Meditation Circle beaming Love and Happiness and our Vision for world peace out into the cosmos“.

Police stood back and watched this unofficial event each year, sometimes coming to persuade those who had climbed up onto the top of the fountain to come down. I think the only more serious intervention came when one year everyone went to the sacred grove of trees in Green Park to make the large circle there, and the police in the park were definitely not amused.

Beginning in 2005, I’ve photographed the street party almost every year and shared the pictures on-line, both on Facebook and on My London Diary. I missed 2016, when I was too ill to go, and 2017 when I was in Hull (both celbrating the city of culture and again my wife’s birthday.)

Venus and I have talked on several occasions about bringing out a book with my pictures of the events and her poems and reflections, but haven’t got around to making it happen.

A couple of years ago we were shocked to hear that Venus was suffering from cancer, and she missed the 2018 party at a retreat in Indonesia. But this year she was back again, though with the cancer still spreading through her body, speaking about it and about how we should all hug ourselves and each other. Her cancer has made her even more determined to spread her message of love.

Much more at Reclaim Love 2019 street party


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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.

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XR Hackney

Monday, May 13th, 2019

Extinction Rebellion are of course right in their analysis of the situation, that we face an unprecedented challenge to the future of human life on earth, and that governments around the world are failing to take this seriously enough. The scientific evidence keeps stacking up but politicians either deny or let themselves be diverted from real action by the lobbyists from companies still making huge profits from polluting.

What is less clear is whether the actions they are taking will lead to the drastic changes which are clearly needed. They face huge opposition from extremely wealthy and powerful companies and the many ultra-rich who are doing very nicely thank you from our status quo and have yet to realise that there is little point in laughing all the way to the bank in a dying world.

Clearly too, as my pictures I think show, XR’s appeal is still largely to an educated middle class (though my apologies to the minority who will be insulted by this description.) The crowd that gathered on Kingsland High Street for the protest was very different from that thronging the adjoining Ridley Road market.

XR have attracted much flak from parts of the left, particularly for their attitude to the police and arrests, particularly for encouraging people to be arrested and to cooperate with the police, to treat them as friends. For many on the left, ACAB is a matter of faith, and sometimes of bitter experience. Certainly the police seem too ready to act as agents of the state, even where this means perverting justice – and parts of our legal system encourage this.

But at least XR are doing something, and their activities in recent months have begun a shift in the media and perhaps even in our currently Brexit-obsessed politics. While their keyboard critics have nothing to show. The Hackney Street Party may have been just a pleasant event on a nice day causing a little congestion as traffic was diverted by police around it, it was a small step in raising awareness – and part of a much larger campaign, aiming to build a wider movement. Perhaps XR will at some point be overtaken by other more radical actions, with backing from political parties, trade unions and the working class, but at the moment there is little sign of them even putting on their running shoes let alone coming to the starting blocks.

More about the XR Hackney Street Party and of course more pictures.


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, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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.

To order prints or reproduce images