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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Been there, took the t-shirt

I had to go into the City on the Thursday of the G20 meeting in London. I was asked to "dress down", like many bankers, to avoid trouble with the G20 protestors. So I borrowed some clothes from my son and set off. When I got to my destination, near Cannon Street, we checked in at reception, then I put on balaclava and dark glasses. The other visitors didn't bat an eyelid as I stood there in full riot-ready gear, reading The Daily Telegraph.

Anarchy in the UK

Fortunately, when my host arrived he appreciated the joke -- I don't think I'll be asked to dress down again. Anyway, a bit later on, in full bobo disguise I went down to Bank to join in the mass demonstration. I was going to demonstrate in favour of the sirens on police cars in the UK being replaced by the music from the Benny Hill show. When we got there, there were about 20 "demonstrators", about 200 journalists and about 50 policemen. Nothing was happening at all. But I did get moved on by a policemen, who told me I couldn't demonstrate on the pavement, so I claim that my disguise worked.

Whaddya got?

As my friend Pete pointed out, it was a bit like the point in "The Great Escape" when Gordon Jackosn's character gets caught out by the Gestapo agent because he answers him in English. This, incidentally, is actually based on a real event...

Gordon Jackson (MacDonald, Security). This is a compilation of George Harsh and Tim Kirby-Green (both security) and Bernard Scheidhauer (Bushell's escaping companion). Harsh was one of those transferred to Belaria just before the escape, but Scheidhauer, a Frenchman, partnered Bushell. It was Scheidhauer, used to speaking English in the camp, who inadvertently answered a Gestapo agent in English, a mistake which led to he and Bushell being caught. This is shown very clearly in the film.

[From Real Great Escape - The Movie]

Anyway, when the policemen moved me on and I wandered off, Pete pointed out that I'd left my British Airways Gold card on my rucksack. Drat! There was nothing much going on, so we left. I thought the bobos were booboos, a kind of protest theatre troupe rather than actual protestors. The whole thing was a group affectation as far as I could see, and I noticed a similar conclusion from one of the Spiked reports on the same.

For the time being, anti-capitalist protest looks very much like a lifestyle affectation. It has an inherently unstable character, which can one day target a rich, high-profile banker and a week later take strong exception to the building of a power station. In many respects, this form of lifestyle protest represents the mirror image of the consumerism that it so despises. Anti-capitalism has become a brand with about as much content as KFC or FCUK. This is about playing at protest.

[From A caricature of a riot | spiked]

Exactly. It reminds of when I used to go to festivals for the weekend to play at being a hippie: which, I have to say, was pretty good fun.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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