Wednesday, 1 April 2009

4th Estate Fearlessly Report News of G20 Demo

Via the Guardian's Live Blog on the event. Just a normal, spontaneous event simply spotted by good photo-journalism? How blessed we are as a nation to have so many good photo journalists who knew exactly where to stand ..... but for such dedication we'd be denied this sort of top quality reporting at a moment when there have been precisely 20 arrests.


  1. Hi Charlie,
    I've just watched Newsnight Review with Kevin Toolis, Tristram Hunt and John Bew. They were all pretty cynical about the G20 protests. Did you see it? They all seemed to feel that contemporary protests compare very badly with the good ol' fashioned protests that distinguished England's past. Michael Crick (loathsome) in the same programme recalled how 'peaceful' protesters were attacked at Peterloo. I couldn't help but wonder what his BBC predecessors would have said had that institution existed in the 19th century: MADchester Mobs Run Riot!

    It's funny how hindsight renders all dissent respectable.

  2. Hi Rab,
    Ahem. I fell asleep during Newsnight Review. Too much wine I fear.

    To refer back to discussions we've had elsewhere: perhaps arts led regeneration will include a strand whereby the great class battles of the past are reenacted for the tourists, even as contemporary protests are closed down and kettled? I can see it now: get your £40 ticket for the Sealed Knot's reenactment of Peterloo or Orgreave. A grand family day out.(Car parking extra).

    Last October My family & I went down to Battle, outside Hastings, to see 7,000 people dress up as Saxons and Normans to replay the battle of Hastings on the site itself. (Funnily enough a lot of them were German,Dutch or Scandinavian and I couldn't stop wondering how you got a battle axe or a 7ft spear through Customs when you can't take a jar of hand cream...but I digress.) In England at least there's a fine tradition of 'National Trusting' the most conflict laden bits of our history e.g. reducing it all the status of a colorful tea-towel. I'm not sure if this has gone as far, or could go as far, in either bit of Ireland: it is quite one thing to visit a depoliticised English 'stately' and quite another to go see a 'Big House' in Ireland, with the attendant associations of the Ascendancy. But perhaps I'm straying into the territory laid out in the last post of your own blog which has got me thinking this way....

    As for Crick - well I think you're being a bit harsh. It's absolutely true he's not up to the job of being Newsnight's political editor. on the other hand, he's a fine trainspotter/ferreter out of stories. Think of how he chased Archer.

    Also,as Mrs.Charlie was a teenage season ticket holder at Old Trafford, together with her Mum and Grandmother, no one in my house is allowed to be too rude about one of the leading lights of the campaign to stop Murdoch taking over United....

  3. I was drinking tequila during Newsnight but I started quite late so didn't nod off until a little later...

    We have few mock battles over in Norn Iron. One in particular at Scarva re-enacts the Battle of the Boyne. Been going on for years. There's something slightly strange about a place that keeps up a tradition of mock battles that run concurrently with real street riots. I mean, why would you bother with a mock fight when you can kick someone's head in for real?

    Have a look at Patricia Rozema's film adaptation of Mansfield Park. It's one of the rare occasions on British screen that the history of stately private property is exposed. While the book makes reference to Sir Thomas, the owner of Mansfield Park, going off to look after his business interests in Antigua, Jane Austen makes or thinks little of this but Rozema draws attention to Antigua's slave plantations and the possibility that Mansfield Park is built on exploitation. One of the more interesting period dramas I've seen.

  4. I think I only understood how depoliticised English Stately Homes are when one day 26 years ago I found myself in the Doges Palace in the Piazza Del Marco in Venice. We went through sumptuous room after sumptuous room with lots of high falutin' paintings, furniture and tapestries I could see were beautiful but didn't have a clue how to understand in any kind of context. The architecture was magnificent. The route through the Palace was pre-set of course, there was no real chance to wander off course.

    In England, these tours tend to end in the gift shop, so you can get fleeced. So indeed did the Venetian experience - but only after, having left the glories of the Palace upstairs, one was led down to the cells underneath, only a couple of feet above the waterline of the lagoon. They were small, damp and deeply oppressive - and the clear implication was that the beauty and wonder of the upstairs world was dependent on these cells being used to full capacity...