please imagine some really well worded disclaimer that explains anything i've written in a really acceptable way,

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

drinking tea for a few days.
recommend it.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

too muscular to be a weasel, and too sleek a coat to be a stoat. polecat at dawn.

been hanging out with the puffins, the hedgehogs, deer, gannets and the fulmars, of the Far North of this inspirational island.

and learning about fish, oil, and heroin, from those great teachers: the people who transport the hitchers around.

And had an amazing and surprising conversation with a very humble Mid-Western American Christian.

Edinburgh's quiet now all the G8 crowd have gone.
Been thinking about some of the people I met, the Palistinian guy who'd been hit by a police baton, the pretty girl from Afghanistan, the police from London, from East Anglia, from Yorkshire, the friendly Basque guy dressed as a 12foot beaked devil, the eco feminists, the live8pilgrims, the journalists, the anarchists, the clowns, the communists, the people from London travelling home to their bombed city, and so many local people who found themselves on the world stage for a few days, and decided to see if anyone actually wanted to listen to what they had to say. And so many people who had no idea what they really wanted to say, but wanted to show up to show that they care.

Been thinking a lot about how can we live in this world these days when the bombs are getting too close for them to be easy to ignore anymore? Is it too late to start caring about the shocking imbalances of the world? The pressure that has built up along the fault lines?
How did we let it become so unequally stacked?

Does anyone really have any hope?

"If the oppressors kill/hate the oppressed, we all lose. If the oppressed kill/hate the oppressors, we all lose."

But life goes on as normal, and the sun is shining.

"There comes a time, when silence is betrayal."
-Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, July 15, 2005

ok so I wrote like a whole article on that Monday and then didn't have anytime to write on the Wednesday when I had way more exciting adventures, and witnessed lots more ingredients for thinking, up at the Gleneagles hotel on the first day of the G8 summit. But hey, this blog never was at all representative of things I do.

Since then I have been given a lift a hundered miles by a professional Robbie Williams tribute singer, and another hundered miles by an Irish wagon driver who taught me about UN peacekeeping in South Lebanon in the 80s.

I also spent a few hours sat by hard shoulder of M1 with steam coming out of car engines.

For those times when camping at Festivals are the rest and recovery days.
May peace be with you.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Urbanmonklife reporting live from Edinburgh..

(in the news-style)(for more bitesize+quirky posts please scroll down)
Saturday was an incredible display of 250,000 people dressed mainly in white filling the Meadows and marching around the city centre in a massive peaceful demonstration to 'vote with their feet' and hold the politicians accountable to the good intentions they profess. Sunday was more relaxed though with a Stop the War demo. But if this reporting is live, it has to be about today and now, so...
Today was a day that had caused a certain amount of concern to police, and locals, and people committed to peaceful methods and positive press. Billed as 'the Carnival of Full Enjoyment' it was anarchist initiated and they refused to discuss with the police and council their intentions or planned route march. Many local shops and businesses boarded up their windows, and their was a growing police presence in the build-up.
This day could have been described more as a protest than a demonstration in that it contained elements who were visibly antagonistic towards police. When a protest is against 'the oppressive system' then police restricting their movements become clear symbols of this 'oppression', and thus an intensity can build in the face to face encounters that spectators and passers by can be completely confused by. "we don't understand what they're saying or what they're trying to achieve, they just seem to be causing trouble, but the police seem to be really harsh on them."
There were groups in different places many dressed in colourful costumes and many dressed as clowns. (such as the clandestine incendiary rebel clown army). Green cammo with flourescent pink trimmings were a running theme. Also some bands such as a samba band and a number of small marching drum bands.
In the morning about 200 people were gathered in the West End of Princes St. and began to move towards the financial district where they were met by a heavy riot police contingent. They were hemmed into Canning St (nr Torphichen st) for some time. Rumours of some damage being done to one building have been heard, as yet unsubstantiated. This body of protesters were then engaged in a big wide game, the length of Princes st. with riot police moving them along and eventually hemming them into Princes St Gardens by the Scott Monument. There were a number of scuffles with some bottles thrown by protesters and a reported 12 protesters hospitalised. Policing seemed to be effective at containing the group although spectators were at times swept into the midst of the protest by changing blocks and lines of riot police. One minute you were not allowed one-way, the next another. At one point I ended up chatting to the same confused Merseyside riot policeman from one side that he was blocking, and then walked around the line to the otherside and said hello again. There was quite an ebb and flow to the crowd, the police stood out. But eveyone else was just people.
Meanwhile around the city small groups of colourful people, some in mockmilitary uniforms with bands were walking around the city with a good festival atmosphere, relatively ignored by police. There was a bit of a gathering at one point in Bristo Sq where a number of bands met and lots of colourful people were dancing. Really good vibe. Again, passers-by unsure of aims of groups. 'Maybe its just a party'.
One of my most telling experiences of the day was when I dropped by a university building where I used to work. They had to unbolt the doors to let me in and told me that they had been told to stay indoors all day and keep the whole place locked up. This meant that their whole experience of the day had been limited to hearing helicopters, sirens, and occasional drumming, and otherwise left to their imagination. I was glad I could reassure them that generally everone was smiling and casually walking around and that actually there wasn't a full-on war zone besieging them. But it said a lot, locals responses were often quite fearful, unhelped by the local press that has been issuing dire warnings and hyping every minor incident systematically for months.
As I type Waverley station is still closed by police, occasionally letting people from trains out, there are reports that there are still people penned in in that area, potentially violent but fairly small scale. 100 protesters against 10500 police. maybe not a good choice of battlefields.
The argument that smashing a few windows in the great city of Edinburgh maybe is put in perspective when compared to the bombing of the great cities of Baghdad and Basra, has been raised.
I felt like I was crossing a big line at one point when I moved from a group of spectators to meet some friends who were sitting down drumming in front of a line of fully armed riot police. I was there and got my share of an earful from a bitter local man complaining about 'scum closing the city centre'. But from the place of being among the protesters I had a good chat with a Riot policement from Suffolk, was able to welcome him to the city. He had been made to stand outside the whole day from quite early in the morning in a fairly intense situation. He was appreciating the view of the castle, but counting down the days to going home. Maybe sympathetic to some causes, but systems are weird. More here (please note that this is the only violence of any kind to have happened so to mention it this much is completely unrepresentative of almost everything that has happened in Edinburgh this week).

Also today was a big blockade peaceful protest with a very good vibe outside Faslane Naval base home of our local Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Trident Nuclear Submarines.

And my friends keep getting in all the National papers for things.
We live in interesting times.

The G8 conference starts on Weds and runs till Fri.