Polar Bears vs Capitalism: Place Your Bets
Written by: Violet Myers
“Politicians are criminals” states Vivienne Westwood boldly, ignoring Caroline Lucas, Lynne Featherstone and Jeremy Corbyn shifting uncomfortably behind her.
“Their acts are crimes against humanity, they are trapped in the rotten financial system, which is the cause of all our problems.”
She wears a large felt crown and is met with cheers as she addresses the thousands who have braved the cold November weather to join London’s Climate March.
Westwood was one of many prolific environmental campaigners invited to speak before the large and diverse crowd before they headed out on the march across the city. Despite the poor weather, Central London streets were filled with protesters waving placards that ranged from ‘Life is Better With Trees’ to the old favourite ‘I’m so Angry I Don’t Know Where to Start’. Some had dressed their children as adorable, near to extinction polar bears while some handed around free organic apples to the crowds, the whole event had a distinct Burning Man meets CBBC vibe and is just what the organisers had intended; an entirely family friendly event.
…Waving placards that ranged from ‘Life is Better With Trees’ to the old favourite ‘I’m so Angry I Don’t Know Where to Start’
Demonstrations, such as these, carry with them a bad name that’s been hard to shake. As a result of a few non-organic bad apples, who have taken the civil out of civil disobedience, marches are sometimes feared as dangerous places and unsuitable for children. The organisers of London’s Climate March have made distinct efforts to change this opinion by borrowing beautifully crafted, ten foot animal costumes to be worn throughout the march, keeping signage and speeches to before-the-watershed standard and having the focus very much on the next generation. They are encouraging participants to think of our children and our children’s children who, after all, will be taking the brunt of climate change if action is not taken soon.
The march drew out 70,000 people including Emma Thompson, Charlotte Church and Thom Yorke. Whether it can be deemed a success relies upon the outcome of the climate talks going on in Paris but, from a personal point of view, the atmosphere was incredibly humbling, passionate and remarkably positive. It was overwhelming to be surrounded by thousands of people so focused on change and for a moment it was easy to feel like the people really did have the power.
The feeling was short lived. Leaving the march and heading to the tube via Oxford St, our party was surprised to find a less than positive reaction directed our way, especially to a particular placard held by a fellow marcher that read: ‘Stop Bombing Syria’. A taxi driver leant out of his window and shouted “They’re going to bomb us first!” others simply went with the classic “Shut the Fu*ck up”, while most shook their heads and muttered under their breath.
For a moment it was easy to feel like the people really did have the power
Leaving one march and joining another (the slow death march that is shopping on Oxford street) it felt clear that, although a small percentage of the public are willing to give up their Sunday to try and make positive change, the cause has a lot more work to do if it’s to compete with the pull of Christmas shopping and the shiny lights of capitalism in general.
Spirited away from the hubbub of the city, sitting on the bustling boundaries of Islington and Camden, a 65 metre wide gallery resides hidden behind the Attic Self Storage building in Kings Cross. Market Road Gallery is a newly opened space for everyone to contribute to. It is London’s first bookable open air public gallery. Everyone, from the neighbourhood cat to a fancy pants established artiste, can create artwork for the space.
Today Britain will relish (moan) in 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight, with the sun rising at 4:43am and setting at 9:31pm. It’s set to be a record breaking 33 degrees in London. I for one am going to need all the help I can get not to disappear like the wicked witch of the West into a sticky puddle on Stroud Green Road. Here’s our Solstice-worshipping, Pagan inspired tips for surviving the hottest and longest day of the year in London.
It’s time. Time to bask (complain) in the sun and ask why god why when will it end?? Yes, Summer is officially here for the week, the hottest week in the last 20 years. This Friday, Drum n Bounce are coming all the way down South to help us celebrate this fact, as healthily as possible. Right in the middle section of VeloPark (link) you can take part in uplifting and limbering flow yoga with Tammy’s Yoga before 45 minutes of energising drum n bounce aerobics. This is basically getting hot and fit and dancey to your favourite tracks before you head off in to the night (or bed) with a massive sweaty smile on your mug.
Next Friday night, ignore your mounting list of life admin and venture outwards into the ether for a misanthropic wine a plenty. It’s the Black Books pub quiz at The Duke of Wellington as part of their couch potato themed quiz series. Entry is a meagre £2 but you can win some cold hard real cash if you’re up on your Dylan Moran / Tamsin Greig / Bill Bailey shaped references.
Who are the Heather Brothers? It’s a question that’s been keeping me up at night. Ever since I was asked to review their latest musical, Holy Crap, I’ve been trapped in something of a Google wormhole. To begin at the beginning: the Heather Brothers are, depending on who you ask, a musical writing duo/trio/quartet. Born in London, they grew up in Zimbabwe, where they spent their teenage years performing in a fraternal rock band. Again, depending on who you ask, they were variously known as: The Chequers, The Three People or Quiet World.
“Arriving back in the UK, after a long time away, there seemed to have been a swing towards xenophobia and the dehumanizing and vilify of both migrants and refugees was happening at the highest levels. I wanted to create a short that would address this trend.” Director Daniel Mulloy
The gin enthusiasts down at Hendricks have decided to take these cucumber celebrations a slice further with their Cultivate the Unusual campaign. Encouraging gin fans to grow their own cucumbers over the last few months in preparation, Hendricks are asking us to bring said veggies to participating pubs and bars this Thursday 15th June. The Canonbury Tavern for example, will light up if you walk in with a cucumber and will proceed to exchange it for a free gin and tonic. Can you imagine?
Hang Up Gallery have some pretty hush hush news. And it goes a little something like this: Darryl ‘Run’ DMC McDaniels will be popping up in the Stoke Newington gallery this month to launch his new collection of works, The Art of DMC. This is the icon’s first London exhibition, showing new and unseen collection of ‘Darryl Makes Comics (DMC)’ Fine Art, a body of signed limited edition prints showcasing his underlying passion for comics.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the original Summer of Love ’67 where freedom of expression, art and love reigned supreme. #ShopStroudGreen are celebrating the fact with a Summer of Love Local weekend festival this June. Celebrate artistic expression and support local independent traders and makers with a weekend of live art, workshops and music (with a few special discounts, tasters and freebies for good measure).
Oh snap! Another general election looms. Whether you’re hopeful for a landslide win or a surprising wild card outcome, wipe the bitter disappointment from your tastebuds with some gins, ales, burgers and strong covfefe. Because let’s face, it will be neither of those results will it really? Find the perfect place for you to receive the bad news in good company.
Get a different perspective on the city you live in this June. Film London are holding a screening of archive footage of London’s outer boroughs through the decades, underscored by live music accompaniment. The best of London’s Screen Archives hugely successful project, London: A Bigger Picture will be shown, funded by Heritage Lottery three years ago.
We caught up with Snowy the Harringay Station cat to talk Twitter, working life and his unsavoury friendship with Gus the fox. Summer is coming and, in North London, that means it’s time to hit the train stations. So we took Snow the Haringey Station Cat and photographer Mike Barry tumbling across one of them: the undergrowth of Haringey Station. Then we sat down with Snowy for a raw conversation about how to move forward after things fall apart.
“You grow it, we mow it” might be their blasé catchphrase, but Rocket’s attitude to your haircut is far from casual. These guys are serious about hair and the person that grew it. Rocket Stoke Newington are holding a day of free beer and entertainment with your cut in aid of Men’s Mental Health Sunday this 12th June. Also known as “Chopping for Chazza”, there’ll be talks on mental health, stand up comedy and more from 12 - 5pm.
Unless you’re already working for charity or regularly ‘do your bit’, that £6 monthly donation to The Dogs Trust might not be doing enough to quash your conscience / save the world. Whether you’re doing it for experience, to reset your karmic balance or generally give back and help out, there’ll be a role out there for you. On the Volunteer Centre Camden’s website for example, there’s a handy search page that lets you filter through hundreds of opportunities by location, interest and activity.
Currently showing at Camden People’s Theatre, performance artist Tom Marshman’s play Kings Cross (Remix) is a glorious celebration of a bygone era. The show is a tightly crafted journey through the stories of some of the people who made up the 1980s Kings Cross LGBTQ scene. Bursting with warmth, charm and affection, the play is a must see for anyone interested in learning more about London’s alternative history.
The Londoner behind 'Strong and Stable My Arse'. It’s a simple message. A slogan that’s straight to the point. 'Strong and Stable My Arse’ is a statement everyone can understand with a wry grin as they spot it slathered onto billboards, phone boxes and brick walls around the UK. So who could possibly be behind such a simple, cheeky, dig in the ribs campaign? Someone who knows his audience, who knows the mindset of the British like the back of his left hand.