london diary

november 2006


my london diary

i was very disappointed to have to miss the climate change march and rally on 4 nov, but i was busy hanging a show i'd organised. at the juggler in hoxton market, 'the river' is a mixed show on for a month, with some very fine painting as well as some photography and prints. but i've photographed all the major climate related demos in london for a few years. at least linda went along to keep the numbers up. the prints on the wall, we made for the pub, and the two pictures show what digital can do in dim available light - iso 3200.

sunday i was taken out for a walk by the river at twilight, near where i live, and there were some spectacular colours in the sky, including some reds well beyond the range of photography.
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wednesday provided another chance to use the camera in low light, taking a few snaps at the talk at host gallery, where nick danziger was talking about photography with colin jacobson as referee. it was an interesting story, and although his earliest books showed him to be rather an amateur there were some great pictures in his later work, not least from his roughly a month shadowing tony blair, where he was granted incredibly unrestricted access to meetings at downing street and around the world. while keeping a discreet silence about the conversations he overheard, he had some interesting stories to tell. the show at host was disappointing, a case of a client not letting a photographer work the way he wants to work.
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i'd meant to take some pictures at the opening of the river show on thursday, but i was just too busy, making a short opening speech and talking to everyone, though there were many i just didn't have time to say all i had wanted. the good news was i sold two prints with promises of another sale later.

saturday was 'the eleventh day of the eleventh month' and although the main commemorative events now take place on the sunday, i decedided to cover some of what was promised for saturday. at 11 am, there was a brief commoration for animals who died in war at the sculpture in park lane. here i discovered a third poppy colour, which they described as purple, though i'd have called it lilac or mauve.

from there i went on to grosvenor square, where 'school students against the war' (ssaw) had scheduled a 'die-in'. unfortunately numbers were not up to their expectation, with only around 20 students there.

i took a few pictures and left for the picket outside marks and spencer near marble arch. there are regular weekly pickets on thursdays, organised by 'fight racism, fight imperialism' as a part of the 'boycott israel campaign'. this saturday was a special event, part of the fourth international week of action against the apartheid wall.
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i took a few pictures of the picket, and then the ssaw people arrived and staged a mass die-in on the pavement. this certainly generated a great deal of attention. they then adressed the crowds milling past m&s briefly before marching off down oxford street with megaphones and banner. they staged a second 'die-in' further down the street, again attracting the attention of shoppers, although perhaps surprisingly, not the police.

i left them at oxford circus, to make my way to trafalgar square, where i hoped to photograph the fountains full of poppies. they were just clearing them up as i arrived, with two men in waders and shrimp nets catching them. it was bizarre if not surreal, although not quite what i'd been hoping for.
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the families of servicemen killed in iraq were gathering close to the cenotaph. led by a piper they marched solemnly to stand in front of it, while they came up to read out the names of those killed in the iraq war. as well as they names of the 121 dead british servicemen a small selection of the names of iraqi civilians killed was also read out.

family members and others then came up to the cenotaph to lay wreaths for their loved ones. after the wreaths were laid, a deputation went to hand in a letter adressed to tony blair at 10 downing street, signed by 500 military families and veterans, calling for the immediate return of british troops. among those taking part were rose gentle of military families against the war, and others who have lost sons or partners in iraq, including ann lawrence, roger bacon, natasha mclellan and maureen bacon and lance corporal george solomou, from the london regiment of the territorial army who refused to go to fight in iraq. there were also families of serving soldiers who took part in the event.

other supporters attending included kate hudson of CND, yvonne ridley and lindsey german of respect and stop the war, fashion designer katherine hamnett, and mp jeremy corbyn.

it was a moving event, and one that attracted considerable media interest. there is a delicate balance between intruding on private grief, but those there had chosen to make their grief public, and we had to record it for them. of course i tried to work sensitively there were moments when i too was close to tears. by the end of the event, the light had more or less gone and i decided to come home.
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well, that was about november in london for me, as i spent the rest of the month first in paris, then in bed and feeling sorry for myself recovering from this.

But I had a good time in Paris where I had gone for Paris Photo. There are a few pictures from there but more from my walks around Paris during the day and at night
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Pub Portraits

Hoxton, 4 Nov 2006

© Townly Cooke, 2006
Paul by Townly, ISO 3200
another picture

Staines Sunset

River Thames, Staines, 5 Nov 2006
Staines © Peter Marshall, 2006
The reds were rather more intense than this
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Nick Danziger/Colin Jacobson at HOST

Host Gallery, Honduras St, London, Wed 8 Nov, 2006
Nick Danziger/Colin Jacobson © Peter Marshall, 2006
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Remembering Animals Killed in War

Park Lane, London 11am 11 November 2006
Nov 11, London © Peter Marshall, 2006
They are wearing 'purple' or lilac poppies.
School Students Against the War

US Embassy, Grosvenor Square and Oxford St, London 11 Nov 2006
London, Nov 11 © Peter Marshall, 2006
A 'die-in' on the pavement in Oxford St
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Solidarity with Palestine

FRFI at M&S, Oxford St, Saturday 11 Nov
London, Nov 11 © Peter Marshall, 2006
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Trafalgar Square Poppies

Trafalgar Square, London. 11 Nov 2006
London, Nov 11 © Peter Marshall, 2006
The fountains had been filled with poppies, but they were being fished out when I arrived.
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Families of Servicemen Killed in Iraq

Cenotaph, Whitehall. Saturday 11 November, 2006
families of servicemen killed in iraq © Peter Marshall, 2006#
Family members, led by Rose Gentle carry wreaths along Whitehall to the Cenotaph

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Paris & Stains

16-19 Nov 2006

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