Posts Tagged ‘London’

Comin’ Like Ghost Town……………

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Yesterday afternoon was quite a surreal experience. After event of recent days, we discussed it a little at work,  after which I left with instructions from The Wife to make a stop at Lush in Birmingham City Centre.

As the bus pulls in to the penultimate stop, I notice something’s not quite right. The it hits me as I get nearer to New Street – all but a handful of shops & (a pub) appear to be open. Mercifully , Sainsbury’s is open & after picking up supplies I turn to my mission in hand – as suspected Lush has shut up shop.

I see more coppers than I’ve normally see on a match day, once I get to New Street & the increased presence extends into the train station. I’m walking through town with a large bag & a couple of people give me odd looks, but be serious – a looter, heading towards the police? Then again I hear stories later that do make me revise my estimation of these individuals.

Anyway, I actually get a seat on the train, but when I get to wolverhampton, things get really odd.

Again I see more police, but as in Birmingham I assume it’s a precaution for any activites that may be occurring later. However, as I get to the bus station, there’s a line of officers & then I pass roit poilce in a van once I pass the Express & Star Building.

The town centre is eerily bright & quiet until I see near the Lichfield Street fountain lines of police. Then I (belatedly) realise things have already kicked off. I find a rout past rubbernecking spectators on to the main ringroad & inform the few people heading the other way that the city is sealed off. The sight of a bare ASDA car park & almost total silence in the sun is just odd.

I get home to a relieved Wife & hear one of our neighbours, Richard, could be stranded, as New Street Station was closed not long after I got my train from their & Wolverhampton Staion closed by the time I got home.

I also learn shops started shutting by 3 p.m. & things started flaring up. I also learned that apparently last night in Birmingham, one of the shops hit in the first way of looting was PRIMARK: so we’re dealing the the greedy, dispossessed & terminally stupid.

OK, so seriously, there’s never any justification for the behaviour we’ve seen in recent days, but this shows how dumb some people can be

Many people have proffered opinions, not all of them helpful, but some of those working on the ground, in London at least have given food for thought that we all should consider, such as Camila Batmanghelidjh, who also wrote a piece in the Independent – read that here. In addition,  Paul Lewis  & James Harkin note in the Gaurdian that we most remember that it wasn’t just poor, black kids running feral on the streets: read the full article here.

On a more positive note, people have shown communities may be scared, but not easily broken.

Fellow Mixclouder, Orsii, based in London took part on one of the many volunteer clean-up operations organised by RiotCleanup. If you can help, check out the website at www.riotcleanup.com

With everyone’s help, we’ll get through this