june 1 saw me wandering through the city on my way to visit timothy hyman's
studio near the angel. the area around middleton sq has some fine townscape,
but perhaps too ordered for my taste. if you don't know his pictures its
worth finding out about them and it was very enjoyable being able to see
some of the works in his home and studio, as well as works by other artists
hanging on his walls.
this was an extended bank holiday weekend with two days off to mark 50
years of rule. as a convinced republican i wasn't too excited, but thought
i'd go along and have a little look at how others were celebrating. sloane
sq seemed a good place to see how chelsea was taking it as they were having
a fair on sunday 2 june.
more pictures soon
i was glad to leave and join the Kurds in their demonstration for human rights. britain has a lot to answer for, having betrayed them at the lausanne treaty in 1923 which divided their country, giving most to Turkey which has since behaved with complete disregard for their human rights.
more recently - again to keep the turks onside - the US put the Kurdistan
Workers' Party (PKK) on their terrorist list, despite it having abandoned
terrorism to try and obtain justice. Turkey has continued a policy of brutal
repression - as the European Court of Human Rights has confirmed. cynical
support of US policy by britain and other countries resulted in the PKK
also being listed as a banned terrorist organisation last month. its the
kind of politics that makes me ashamed to be british and loses our labour
government any respect.
after the demo i went on to see how southwark were celebrating. the answer
turned out to be very low key, though as usual there were some interesting
food and drink stalls at boro market, and a steady stream of people walking
along by the river.
june 3 i went to see how ordinary people were celebrating - first of all
to a council organised even in ilford, and then to a street party in the
heart of the east end. redbridge is in some ways one of the bleaker london
boroughs, and the event seemed to lack any real centre or real conviction.
perhaps the brightest point was the rain, which brought out a little of
the true british spirit..
Mile End is also bleak when you emerge from underground, with too many lanes of road cutting through its centre. to the north, and running up to the roman and vicky park is one of the remnants of london's east end, still with many of its victorian terraces. the street party was in full swing when i arrived and everyone was out to have a good time. it was a great event for kids and for grandmas and everyone else, and the bar and the pub were doing good business too.
this was the real east-enders - with a cast including a real black bishop in purple robes, two fancy dress beefeaters, police who could almost have been from dock green (except for the hats), a fire engine and its crew and plenty of characters. not a single juggler, mime or performance artist in sight (sometimes i ask myself what did i do to father a unicyclist.)
these were people who - like we all used to - could make their own entertainment. food, drink, chat, music, a bit of a dance, games for the kids. it was a street rather like the area i grew up in fifty years ago, where everybody knew each other, although with a rather more multi-ethnic population.
people - apart from the odd shy kid - were happy to have their pictures taken and to talk. one man saw i was photographing the decorations on his house and came over to tell me how his father had decorated it for the silver jubilee twenty five years ago and that he had been determined to do it better.
they hand't quite got to a real full-blown knees-up, but it seemed definitely
on the cards and it was time to go. as I walked away three young women were
walking towards the party on the other side of the street, "d'you wanna
take our picture", one shouted, seeing my cameras. "no film left" i replied.
the following day i meant to go out and take more pictures of the events,
but in the end i couldn't make it, just feeling it would be too much of
that michael jackson still has fans was news to me, but they are protesting
about unfair treatment of him by his record company. Michael himself turned
up on an open-top bus, but his look-alikes were more convincing.
much more serious is the use of sweated labour in making cheap goods for
us. i joined protestors outside Nike World and then in a game of footy along
another big march through central london was in support of refugees and
asylum seekers. there were some impassioned speeches and the march made
a strong point that we need to treat asylum seekers as people and not demonise
some of my work gets put into nice organised websites.
this isn't meant to be like that, but you can see some of the rest at
and you can read what I think about photography at