Not back as in here today, gone again next week. Back properly. Back for good. Well, for the time being at least.
But what a crazy time!
It all looked good on paper, when I was planning it beforehand. Theoretically dead easy. No probs.
But the reality? Well, stress, pressure, rush rush rush. And now I’m back I’ve got swollen feet and a hangover from a relaxing glass or three!
Attending two relatively major events almost back to back (well, ok, a few days’ interlude between them) is not a good idea.
And even that brief break wasn’t a real break. Oh no. It was very much a case of having to quickly earn a bit of dosh to help top up the rapidly-becoming-threadbare purse.
The details then…
First there was the Climate Camp, in Blackheath, London. I’ve been to every one so far (and was even in at the very first meeting (or “gathering” as Climate Campers prefer to call them) that set the whole ball rolling) so I couldn’t really miss this one now could I?
Next year, if there is one, may be slightly different. But that’s another story entirely, and nowt to do with this ‘ere blog.
So, Climate Camp. Eight days of pic-taking. Nor was it all on-site. Oh dearie me no. Some quite interesting events just had to be attended, and each rendered their quota of pics.
First there was a trot down to Barclays Bank at Canary Wharf for a demo that proved totally surreal by the almost total absence of “real” police (which is to say, there were a few police lookalikes as in Canary Wharf security types floating around), and an almost complete lack of intervention by either police or security. Bizarre… and I think I’m still trying to recover from the shock.
Then, on the Sunday, a handful of Campers set off from site to some local heath/woodland where other Campers had spotted a load of litter left, presumably by locals, or tourists maybe. The intention being to clear up some of this litter and bring it back to Camp for recycling.
It was the Campers’ way of trying to be good neighbours.
That was quite a fun little outing and the folk that participated were real friendly, all getting on well together.
More pics of course (aside from anything else it was a bloody good PR exercise for the Camp!).
Monday bright and sunny (turned out to be the nicest day of the whole week in fact, certainly weather-wise and in some other ways too) and the pic-taking kicked off with watching a couple of guys assemble a pedal-powered hovercraft. Amazing.
Then the afternoon was given over to a kids’ picnic in nearby Greenwich Park.
Now I’m not normally into taking pics of kids, so all the paranoia that seems to surround this particular activity doesn’t really impact my photo jaunts.
But to say that it doesn’t affect me would be completely wrong. For I find that whenever kids do appear on the scene I almost instinctively lower the camera until they’re out of sight/viewfinder range.
Which is worrying, cos it sort of means that I’ve unconsciously bought into this paranoia and am in a way sanctioning it… by default as it were. Which is totally wrong.
So it was a real pleasure to truly relax and not just be able to snap a few shots of kids, but actually be invited to do so. Great!
Tuesday was of course the “big day”.
Three busloads of us pile out of the Camp into the city and re-assemble at Trafalgar Square, ready for a march to the offices of BP where there’s a demo in support of the Tar Sands campaigners.
But it didn’t end there!
By special request of a lovely lass from Ireland (hang on a minute while me temperature drops a bit…!) I and another photographer-type (I’d like to say “mate” but the way he continually insults me makes me begin to wonder) then went on to another demo outside the Shell Centre, in support of the Rossport campaigners.
Wednesday was of course Camp pack-up day so, persistent to the last, I had to grab a few pics before packing my own kit and setting off homeward.
Well, as you can imagine, I returned with simply masses of photos. And, being conscious of my plan to shoot off again within a few days, I really needed to start sorting through them straight away. But I also really needed to earn some dosh fairly quickly. Like really needed. Else the second little jaunt just couldn’t have happened.
Bloody stupid idea, this plan of mine. Of course, I can see that only too clearly… now.
Anyway, following Tuesday back to London again for three days of protests against the arms trade (dealers in which were having an exhibition at London’s Excel Centre… an event that occurs every two years). Couldn’t miss that of course, what with me being a dedicated anti-war type of long standing, and anti- most of the things guns and stuff are used for when they’re sold to fascist dictators, nazi-lookalikes and basically anyone that seeks to impose their will by force of arms.
And of course bastard arms dealers that turn a profit by selling to both sides in a conflict. And then let’s not forget the scumbag drugs companies that also benefit from such conflicts. But that’s a different rant.
First day and almost immediately after arriving in London I’m off with a march around some of the City’s financial establishments and suchlike that are known to invest in the arms trade.
Second day and there’s a neat little event at the Custom House Station that serves the Excel Centre.
And third day concludes with a protest outside the Hilton Hotel where all those nasty little arms dealers are having some nosh.
So, another huge batch of pics, and I’ve only just now finished sorting/processing/uploading. What a marathon job that was! And now, when I review what I’ve uploaded to Flickr, I’m beginning to think some reprocessing/replacing may be in order for some of them. That’s what you get for having to rush a job through (and it had to be rushed cos they were all sort of “time-sensitive” for various reasons).
Oh well, such is life.
However, given my irrepressibility of enthusiasm in clicking that bloody little button on top of the sodding camera, I find I’ve also (somehow) managed to snare a few pics that have absolutely nothing to do with the reasons I was in London (on either occasion).
Thing is, if something catches my eye I seem unable to resist snapping it. Some people just never learn.
And by the way, next time I’m stupid enough to plan for two events so close together, someone please remind me what an idiot I am.