i wasn't sure i wanted to photograph pride again. the 'queer is here' display was in the museum of london foyer again for pride, reminding me of the work i've done previously. one of the images from around 2001 for me marked a watershed, with marchers carrying a placard stating 'pride not profit'. its a balance that has tilted too far, with pride changing from a protest into a spectacle.
europride and the active support of the london mayor would i thought shift the pendulum even further, removing yet more of the spontaneity and interest of the event. marchers (and photographers) would i thought be restricted and penned in. in the event it wasn't quite like this (although oxford street was a place to avoid.)
perhaps there are just too many individuals and different ideas in the gay community, or perhaps the organisers just had more sense than to try, but the 2006 event retained much of the spirit of recent years if lacking the political bite of earlier days. in some ways there was less over-organisation than at some previous events, even with the mix of lorries and pedestrians in the assembly area.
it is now more an event about showing off rather than coming out, parade rather than protest, but at times it was certainly fun, both for those taking part and those watching and taking pictures.
the only problem i encountered was in photographing the religious fundamentalists
who had gathered to demonstrate against pride. i argued with the police,
but they would not allow me to go and talk to them and photograph them at
close quarters, insisting i stay behind the police line to photograph. allowing
the press through would not have been a problem and it would have let me
do my job properly. again its a clear case of the police not keeping the
agreement they came to with the unions.
football supporters were gathering, although given the way the england team have played its hard to see why even the most rabid patriot could really support our national team. i took a couple of pictures, then decided it would be more fun to be elsewhere.
elsewhere was one of my favourite corners of london, one of those places its always pleasant to sit in and relax and perhaps eat a snack or enjoy a drink, or just sit under the trees. there is something about the quality of the light in queen square too, filtering through the leaves, that is often seductive.
however today was the 25th annual queen square fair, and although i'd missed
most of the previous 24 i thought it would be pleasant to drop in. when
i arrived the light was fabulous,m but difficult photographically, too contrasty
without flash. for some reason my sb800 had decided to play up towards the
end when i was shooting pride, and i couldn't get it to work properly without
the instructions at home (though had i thought to sit down and look at the
crib card i could probably have sorted it.)
sunday i went to mass. it was an open-air service at the start of the southwark irish festival at peckham rye, led by one of the assistant bishops of the diocese. some of the readings, prayers and responses were in irish and there was a considerable amount of green (i'd put on a green shirt for the event too.)
afterwards i walked around the site and took a few pictures, before going
to watch the musicians setting up. i often find irish music looks better
than it sounds, so i wasn't too upset that i had to leave before the event
really got going.
getting from peckham to haggerston on a sunday when half the tube is closed for engineering, various trains are replaced by buses, and buses are held up by extensive road works is an interesting challenge. real-life mornington crescent! (and yes, that station was closed) i'd started earlier at the transport for london journey planner. although this offered a few clues, none of its suggestions seemed optimal to me.
i'd hoped to get a train from peckham to london bridge, but the bus to the station got held up so it only arrived just after it was due. i stayed on the bus as it was going (slowly) to the elephant, where i could catch the city branch to old street, picking up a bus from there after a rather long wait to laburnum street. in the circumstances almost exactly an hour must be some kind of record.
the first laburnum street party was in 2004, part of a campaign to reopen haggerston pool which had been closed without warning on health and safety grounds in feb 2000. the pool is a listed building and the campaigners celebrated the 100th anniversary or the laying of the foundation stone with a candlelit vigil in march 2003. then came the party, celebrating 100 years since the pool opened.
in 1998, hackney had 7 swimming pools and a leisure pool. now just one pool is open, with the council running late on the planned re-opening of both london fields lido and pools at clissold. part of the problem was a disastrous contracting out of hackney leisure centres, and some tricky technical problems have delayed the the roof at clissold. thanks to the public campaign, hackney council's preferred option is now for the haggerston pool is to reopen it as a public facility linked to the new school nearby (a city academy replacing the old school charlie kray attended), with part of the site used as a doctor's surgery, but decisions still have to be made.
the street party was a very lively local event, bursting with local talent.
despite the heat (and very little shade in the street) it felt good. the
big event was the street parade, organised from the fellows court community
centre by lucia way from mush and veronica flew of fabricate, had lots of
enthusiastic kids and an impressively large swimmer carried overhead, and
was led by london's leading samba band. this was an event that exemplified
london at its best, people working together, living together and playing
together. i hope my pictures capture some of the spirit.
the somers town festival of cultures in chalton street was, as in previous years, an interesting event. the area has such a mix of people and that is reflected in the stalls and the performers, as well as in those attending the festival.
in phoenix road, past the bungee jumping, the atmosphere seemed tense, with young asian men standing around listening to the music, and a very heavy police presence, but nothing really tangible to photograph. at the chalton street end were some colourful stalls outside the asian women's centre, and a stage next to the pub where performers included bangladeshi singers, a rock group, various kids doing various things including karate and singing (though not at least when i was there, together.) i found the audience more interesting.
down the street i walked regretfully past the free ice-cream on offer (not suitable for my low fat diet) and various stalls selling tempting food to the stage outside the little venice cafe where the dancing and music (of various styles) was rather more to my taste. most of the pictures i took were around there.
i was thinking about going home and took off my flash and put it in my
bag (most of the time i shoot with flash, often more to let people know
i'm photographing than to add much to the picture) then decided to stay
and take a few more pictures and pushed it back onto the hot-shoe again.
unfortunately i didn't push it all the way, and got some strange results.
the flash fired, but at full power rather than the much lower fill i needed,
and i took quite a few shots before i realised what was happening. the flash
wiped out detail in large areas of the picture, giving large white areas,
but parts of the picture further from the flash - and some darker details
remain. fiddling with the highlight and shadow contrast when 'developing'
the raw files gave some strangely colourful effects. it's not something
i'll try and do again, but i quite liked the effect on a couple of these.
so no, it wasn't photoshop!
i could have chosen to photograph 'the beat goes on' at a couple of hundred different venues around the country. organised by christian aid and pressureworks, this was an attempt to beat a record with over 10,000 drummers playing simultaneously around the country. the world's first campaign drumming petition was "to show the government that we haven't gone away" and to cut funding to the international monetary fund (imf) and world bank until they stop forcing damaging free-trade policies on poor countries. the campaign intends to persuade them to put the promises that were made as a result of the 'make poverty history' campaign leading up to last year's g8 edinburgh summit into action.
these pictures show a group of 31 drummers in staines playing together
for the 5 minute period. the drumming will continue later in the year in
westminster when we go to lobby parliament before the imf and world bank
meetings in washington.
turkish and greek cypriots lived together on cyprus for many years. three years after the island became independent in 1960, fighting started and the turkish cypriots were thrown out of their official positions. there were many killed in the fighting in the following years, and in 1974 both greek and turkish troops became involved. since then the island has been effectively divided into two, with the turkish cypriots in northern cyprus. many turkish and greek cypriots had to leave their homes and move to the other side of the de-facto border, taking over properties vacated by those moving in the opposite direction.
recently the situation has become more complex, with cyprus being admitted to the eu in 2004, despite its split status. the un had set up a re-unification plan that was approved by the turkish population, but rejected by the greeks. entry to the eu has however meant that greek property claims are now being taken up in southern cyprus and can then be enforced in other eu countries, including the UK.
one such case concerns the orams, an english couple who bought land and built a villa on it in northern cyprus. they bought the land from a turkish cypriot who had received it in exchange for property he had to leave in southern cyprus in 1974. the land had belonged to a greek cypriot who took the matter to a court in southern cyprus recently, obtaining an order against them that they should demolish the house and pay damages (which the orams are appealing against.) although the judgment cannot be enforced in northern cyprus, as this is still under turkish control, the lawyers are trying to enforce it in the uk courts against the uk assets of the orams.
settlement of the property issues requires greek and turkish cypriots to come together produce a plan for peace in the divided country. it would then be possible for a suitable property commission - such as that already set up under the advice of the eu in northern cyprus - to work through all the cases.
the marchers were asking for the support of the british government in refusing
to accept the decision of the cyprus court on 'public policy' grounds, and
to make further attempts to establish a proper peace plan that would allow
proper resolution of property and other disputes in the island.
the brixton windmill festival wasn't music at the well-known pub, but at the real windmill 50 yards further on, built by a mr ashby many years ago to take advantage of its hilltop site to get the energy to grind his corn. when i first visited around 30 years ago it had been recently restored by the glc and i climbed up the rather rickety ladder holding the small occupant of the pushchair i had taken with me for a view of the surroundings.
since then it has been vandalised and partly restored, and though its still
an impressive site, you are only allowed upstairs on very special occasions
(and probably after signing a a form in triplicate saying you take your
life entirely into your own hands.) but it is still a useful site, a green
patch in which to sit or stroll, some swings for kids, a cup of tea, and
a reminder of past ages. there was some music at the festival, a group of
local singers while i was there, as well as stalls from a number of local
organisations, including the local history society, the credit union and
also the police and others. i hope a few more people came after i left.
it was a pleasant afternoon for a walk by the thames, and although the shopping streets of the town were hot and bothered as usual, once out on the bridge it was a different world. the river itself was rather busier than usual, with over half its width buoyed off for the regatta, with pairs and trios of boats being stroked lustily downstream chased by umpires in powered catamarans.
i walked past the regatta enclosure and stood a few minutes watching by the bank before continuing along the riverside path. the start and marshalling area were a little more interesting as the officials tried to sort out the various teams, heats and finals. there were quite a few grammar, not to mention eton and a few other posh schools, but not a single comprehensive or sec mod while i was in earshot.
it turned out to be a rather longer walk to hampton court than i'd imagined
(for once i'd not bothered with a map) and i was tired when i got to the
river exit from the flower show. there were a few people carrying rather
straggly looking plants and a couple of photographers already lying in wait
to photograph them, but i couldn't really work up a great deal of interest.
so i walked on and caught the bus.
the first race for doggett's coat and badge took place in 1715, organised by doggett himself, apparently making it the oldest annual rowing race in the world, and the oldest sporting contest of any type in britain, though watermen had taken part in races on the thames before then before then. when thomas doggett, an irish comedian and joint manager of the drury lane theatre, died in 1721, he left money in his work for a prize of a coat and hefty silver badge to be rowed for annually by six young apprenctice watermen. the race has continued since then, even during the war years, although i've never managed to see it before this year.
actually i almost missed it today, as my train was late into waterloo, and the race set off a quarter of an hour before the time i'd been given. so i was walking across london bridge all unprepared when suddenly i looked down and there it was happening. its not a great event to photograph, but the picture gives you some idea. there have been various changes since doggett's day - his will provided for 6 young men to take part, but the number taking part has been reduced to four (there only seemed to be three today), and instead of the heavy 'common scullers boats' he specified, they now use light racing shells. since there are few if any apprentices now, the enttry qualifications have also been relaxed and in 1991 the race had its first woman competitor.
the executors of his will handed over the job of running the race to the
worshipful company of fishmongers, and they still organise it, the race
starting from the swan inn (long dissapeared but opposite their hall next
to london bridge) and ending at the swan in chelsea, (also long gone, but
formerly at the junction of cheyne walk and lower sloane street,) about
41/2 miles upstream.
fishmongers hall arms
the recent mexican elections were close-run, and the official result saw lopez obradorof the party of the democratic revolution (prd) losing by around 0.5% to felipe calderon of the ruling national action party. the prd have challenged the result, and over 100,000 of their supporters packed the central square in mexico city in a protest meeting. the result will go to the electoral tribunal who can alter results and if they think it necessary, call new polls before they certify the winner - bu 6 september at the latest.
an emergency picket of the mexican embassy was called to protest at the
official result and call for a recount, and i went along to photograph it.
it was a tricky job, with the sun shining above the embassy, and not a great
deal to work with, but i managed to catch the mexican flag flying well in
the wind above the protestors.
i had to leave rapidly and make my way to waterloo, where the parade for the waterloo carnival was about to begin. i got there just in time, despite taking the long way round to get into the school were it was forming up. there were many community groups involved as well as the johanna school, and it was an impressive display involving various community groups from school kids to senior citizens, and a number of costumes i think i recognised from previous events at coin street. the procession, including the uniãno da mocidade samba band marched along lower marsh and through the tanswell estate to the millennium green on waterloo road where the mayor of lambeth made a brief speech.
it was a colourful event that obviously involved a great number of people
from the neighbourhood working together to produce an impressive parade.
it was perhaps a pity that there didn't seem to be more going on for the
carnival in lower marsh while i was there, though there were a number of
stalls as well as the normal market there.
streatham festival held it's first ever children’s parade, children
working with artists from arts community exchange and kids' city to create
sculptures, banners and puppets for all to see. the parade was led by drummers
ancestral hands and a cycling stilt-walker brought up the rear as it went
along the high road to st leonard's church.
several hundred people attended the annual commemoration at the international brigade memorial in jubilee gardens london organised by the international brigade memorial trust on saturday 15 july.
between 1936 and 1939 over 35,000 men and women, from more than 50 countries, volunteered for the republican forces. of the 2,300 who came from britain, ireland and the commonwealth, over 500 were killed.
volunteers came largely from working class areas across the country. most were members of communist organisations or otherwise active in the trade unions and other socialist bodies, and their average age was 29.
seventy years later there are relatively few still alive and active enough to attend the commemoration, but it was good to see seven there. they were jack jones who chaired the event, sam lesser who spoke and read, as well as bob doyle, paddy cochrane, lou kenton, jack edwards and a surprisingly spry penny feiwel. as usual there was a reading of the names of those known to have died since the previous year's meeting.
rodney bickerstaff's address raised the problem of keeping alive the memory of those who responded to the call to help the spanish republic, but attendances at this annual event seem to have increased over recent years. there was certainly more media interest than on previous occasions, in part because of the attendance of the spanish ambassador and his wife, reflecting the increasing interest from spain; he also gave a brief speech. as was pointed out, it would be nice to have a representative of the uk government also present.
as usual, the event concluded with the singing of the 'internationale'.
as a part of the national demonstration in london on saturday 15 july to
protest the deaths of three guantanamo detainees earlier this month, called
by the national guantanamo coalition,
a group of protestors, mainly from the 'save omar deghayes' campaign, but also representing other organisations, walked across london from marble arch to the new home office building in marsham st to hand in the petition calling for an independent enquiry into the three recent deaths at guantanamo. the petition also calls for the immediate sending of all detainees to countries where their basic human rights would not be abused, an immediate closure of guantanamo and other prisons where those held were denied proper legal process amd for proper access to detainees by family and medical personnel.
it was a long, hot and dusty trek across london, particularly tricky for
those with pushchairs as we navigated the hyde park subways, and we were
all glad to arrive (thanks to helpful directions from the police) at the
home office. the front of the building was like an oasis, shade, green grass,
water and trees. the police did make us get off the grass and also made
some effort to stop the display of placards and banners, but most of these
remained visible. they had also attracted some attention from the crowds
around buckingham palace as we passed by.
not a lot to say about the tin pan alley festival in denmark street. it
was noisy, fun if you like that kind of thing (but 15 minutes was long enough
for me) and for a good cause. denmark street is perhaps more interesting
on other days, must take my famous (allegedly ex-beatle) guitar in for repair
the italian church festival is one of the great events of the london calendar, which fortunately hasn't yet been noticed by too many non-italians. the procession in honour of our lady of mount carmel attracts several thousands. good food, good wine and italian beer along with other things for sale, colourful statues, and a cast list that included pope benedict xvi, jesus, the four evangelists and many more, all parading through the streets around st peter's church in clerkenwell.
at the end of the procession is our lady of mount carmel and the priests; as they join it, doves are released and the crown of parishoners joins in a solemn procession of witness around the streets.
anyone may download and print pictures from these pages for personal use only. higher resolution prints are also available as a special offer for this italian church festival only, for personal use only, size approx 7x5" at the special low price of £2.50 (plus £2.50 per order handling charge for any number of prints) for a limited period only - contact me for details of how to order, and also for requests for reproduction etc at normal rates.
i've said rather a lot about swan upping in some previous years. it's a fascinating and colourful event, which keeps a record of swans on the river thames, as well as giving them a useful health check. the swans are handled very carefully and care is taken to avoid undue distress (though some of the press present this year could have been rather more careful.)
swans are no longer normally eaten, but are admired for their decorative effect and looked after. although anglers are now rather more responsible than in the past, the birds examined still often have signs of damage from discarded hooks and line. many cygnets die in the first few months before the uppers come around, either from predators or other hazards.
i still feel an excitement watching the skill of the uppers as they surround a family of swans, gradually closing in on them, avoiding gaps and then grabbing them out of the water.
great care is also taken when releasing the family back into the river, and usually only a few seconds later they are swimming serenely as ever.
one of the smaller mysteries to me is how there are so many swans on the
river, but so few mating pairs - and many of these with very small broods.
of course there are many other lakes and rivers around, and swans can and
do move around, although many of the adults in these pictures were ringed
as cygnets in the more or less the same locations.
many more pictures
although the demonstration was called at the last minute, there was an urgent response and between 10,000 and 20,000 (my estimate) demonstrators turned up to march through london, calling for an immediate stop the the attacks on lebanon and palestine, although some like me will have given up before reaching hyde park. french radio put the number at 700, and uk establishment figures were around 7000. the organisers figure of 30,000 was probably slightly on the high side, though not impossibly so.
those attending called for an immediate end to the indiscriminate bombing
by israel in lebanon which is killing so many civilians, especially children,
and for our government to take a stand against this crime against humanity.
the israeli response has been quite disproportionate - as the bbc point
out, they have killed over 360 lebanese, many of the civilians, while israeli
casualites from hezbollah rocket attacks are thought to be 17, with around
the same number killed in fighting.
later in the day i went along to one of the dance week events, a brazilian carnival at sadlers wells. having had a week or more of drought it was rather disappointing to find that the afternoon was dull, with light rain falling. hardly enough to water the gardens that need it, hardly enough to be worth putting an umbrella up, but enough to put a damper on things, and enough to get in my 18-200 lens and create some nasty blurs on pictures until it dried out. i'm a bit annoyed to find that now i have a reasonably weatherproof camera, this nikon lens seems so susceptible to moisture in the air. i can (and do) wipe off the front filter, but there isn't anyway to wipe water off the inside elements.
it was pretty humid and i soon got tired, coming home before tha main fun
started, although i'd photographed most of those in costumes. it seemed
likely to be too crowded to do much more in any case.
sunday morning i was at marble arch to meet the turkish cypriots again. they were marching to an embassy, and for once it wasn't to complain but to give thanks. thirty two years ago in 1974, the turkish government sent in the turkish army to protect the turkish cypriots who were being murdered by greek forces. my mother-in-law could never resist the comment of what a nasty man archibishop makarios was whenever his name was mentioned on the radio, and for once she was right.
the eu appears to have made a great mistake in allowing cyprus - or rather the greek south of the island - to gain membership, despite the greek rejection of the peace terms that the turkish cypriots had agreed too. it was really completely the wrong way round - and accession should have been conditional on acceptance of a peace agreement and reconciliation.
rightly, many turkish cypriots are still bitter about what has happened to them (and of course there were greek cypriots who were killed or expelled by the turks also.) the two communities lived together for many years in the past - and still do in north london, and should be able to do so in cyprus.
it was a much smaller event than the organisers had expected, and the police
refused to stop traffic in cumberland gate or park lane. the marchers had
to go through the subway, and reformed around speakers corner before marching
down park lane on the pavement towards the embassy.
i left them on park lane and tried to make my way to peckham, a tricky journey with over half the underground out of actiion, either through a 'one under' or a series of power failures or planned engineering works.
fortunately the victoria line was still functioning, and after a few minutes
a train came for brixton, were i got on to a 37 bus to peckham rye. where
not a lot was happening yet at 'la feria del latinito & carnaval
de independencias'. it looked like it might get going in a couple of
hours or more, but i decided to catch the bus to clapham junction and go
two more pictures
the following friday there was a further demonstration against the israeli
attack on lebanon. several hundred demonstrators lined up on the pavement
in whitehall opposite downing street. they included a number of jewish protestors
who also felt that the israeli bombing and invasion was an entirely disproportionate
action, as well as supporters of hezbollah.
just before going away on various holidays we went for a very substantial
picnic with friends in kew gardens, where we were able to go into the pagoda.
i remember going up it as a child, but it has long been closed, at least
partly for safety reasons. it isn't really a great viewpoint, with the most
interesting views being those on kew gardens itself. (pictures of kew are
for interest only and are not available for use.)
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
Q. Are the pictures on your site for sale?
A. Yes, both as rather expensive high quality archival prints and also for repro at standard NUJ rates (negotiable.) Contact me - link above - for details.
Q. You photographed me, but I can't see my picture on the site.
A. I don't have room to put all the pictures on the site. E-mail me - 'contact me' link above - with a description including what you were wearing and where I took the picture, and if I can identify you I'll send you a picture.
Q. Do you have other pictures from these events?
A. Yes. If you want to buy or reproduce pictures e-mail me with an idea of what you are looking for.
Q. Do you have photographs of other events?
A. Yes, I was photographing events for many years before I started this site, and only a few selected images before 2002 appear here. Since the end of 2002, most events I've photographed are on this site, although only a very small fraction of my urban landscape and other work.
Q. Do You accept commissions/Will you photograph my event?
A. Yes, I'm happy to accept commissions on a half day or day rate basis, rates by negotiation - see the 'contact me' link. I also welcome invitations from event organisers to cover suitable events without payment for 'My London Diary', although I can't guarantee to do these. Any information about suitable events is also welcome.
Q. How do I find images on this site?
A. If you know the date of an event, the site is organised by year, month. Go to the month and look down the page or pages. If not, most events are listed thematically on the front page, though that index is seldom entirely up to date. Otherwise you can use the search box at top right, but again this sometimes seems to miss out pages.
Q. Can I use your pictures for nothing?
A. Limited non-profit use by suitable non-profit organisations may be permitted - please e-mail to discuss and apply for permission.
But if your organisation pays a designer (or you) to produce documents or web pages, then I expect to be paid too. Like you, I like to eat occasionally.
Q. Are these pictures copyright?
A. Yes, every single picture on this site is copyright.
The right of Peter Marshal to be identified as the author of all photographs on the 'My London Diary' website (mylondondiary.co.uk) has been asserted generally in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All pictures on these pages are copyright © 2006 and may not be reproduced
Unauthorised copying of images registered at the US Copyright Office may result in punitive damages.