Protest is Dead! Long Live Protest!

Written by: Sophie Taylor

We all have our own ways of dealing with life when things get shitty. Having a big cry and getting it all out can be incredibly therapeutic, and even more so when we find ourselves repeating the same line over and over through the tears. “He’s a dick!” or “I’m not a bad person!”

These little lines of reinforcement help us push through the crappy feeling. Sometimes we might even revert to a hearty little stamp on the floor / kick of some unsuspecting object.

It feels surprisingly satisfying when the rage sets in and we feel helpless.

North Four, North London magazine, protest, opinion piece, lifestyle, trump, women's march, brexit, riots, uprising, human rights, march, rally

One night, after feeling particularly upset and annoyed with a boy, my friend took my arm in hers  and marched me down the street repeating the words “it will be okay, it will be okay, it will be okay.” It was a pretty good ploy to get me to shut up as I stared at her bemused. That was until I joined in, laughing and stomping in rhythm, and feeling a hell of a lot better.

After a few hours the words started to lose all meaning.

A few months later we found ourselves side by side again at a protest rally outside 10 Downing Street, driven there by our shared disappointment this time. Angry with the Prime Minister and the President and their special relationship / basic disregard for human rights, we marched slowly down the road chanting and repeating shared lines over and over.

But after a few hours, the words started to lose meaning.

North Four, North London magazine, protest, opinion piece, lifestyle, trump, women's march, brexit, riots, uprising, human rights, march, rally

Seeing Donald Trump’s face plastered over boards and raised up into the air while we repeated his name over and over I suddenly started to wonder if it mattered what we were saying.

Does it matter to a megalomaniac what we’re trying to say with our witty little chants, or does he just see his face pushed into BBC cameras and hear his name repeated by large crowds? Regardless, this was a substantial crowd of people who were pissed off and who wanted change.

“It will be okay. It will be okay.”

But it made me think. I started to wonder about what makes change and what is basically just therapy when we feel helpless and upset.

‘A street demonstration is only one form of protest,’ says Jack DuVall, president of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, ‘and protest is only one tactic that can be used in a campaign. If it’s not a part of a dedicated strategy to change policy, or to change power, protest is only a form of political exhibitionism.’

North Four, North London magazine, protest, opinion piece, lifestyle, trump, women's march, brexit, riots, uprising, human rights, march, rally
We are all inherently tribal creatures, apparently.

During the student protests in 2011, I couldn’t help but see a group of people enjoying a good foot stomp while hearing lines like “this is well anarchic!” As a student myself I wished there was a more effective way to get the message across; that the financial cuts to education were a load of bullshit, but without throwing bricks off the cenotaph / toys out of the pram and generally being a bit of an entitled tit about it.

The education cuts went ahead despite mass protests, that if nothing else sparked a lust for change and a renewed strength in numbers. Seeing your friends amongst strangers in a crowd, chanting the same chant, is reassuring for us as humans. We are all inherently tribal creatures apparently. Which is sometimes part of the problem in itself.

North Four, North London magazine, protest, opinion piece, lifestyle, trump, women's march, brexit, riots, uprising, human rights, march, rally
So what’s the alternative for the entitled millennial?

To see something change, a change is needed. So they say. Was it time to shift the approach, instead of just creating a big mess to be cleaned up by someone else in Trafalgar Square?

Speaking to The Guardian during the aftermath of the London riots in 2011, Robert Smith of The Cure explained how he saw this more raw, chaotic form of protest we saw explode across the streets of London.

“You can sort of understand, because a million people go on a march to try to stop a war and nobody takes any notice. But you don’t respond to it by stealing trainers and burning down fucking doughnut shops.”

North Four, North London magazine, protest, opinion piece, lifestyle, trump, women's march, brexit, riots, uprising, human rights, march, rally

So what’s the alternative for the disenchanted youth? For the ‘entitled millennials’? Back in 1999, The Chemical Brothers released a video for Out Of Control featuring a perfectly made up anarchist opening a bottle of Viva Cola to bring an end to ‘the revolution’.

The key point sees the camera draw back to reveal it’s simply a TV ad, enraging the real protestors even more. Fast forward 18 years and it all gets a little meta, as reality star Kendall Jenner shoots a Pepsi ad with the exact same premise.

During the ad, the model interrupts her make up session as she spots protesters outside and decides to join them. Giving a can of Viva Cola (sorry, Pepsi) to a member of the riot police, the tension miraculously eases and the whole notion of racial injustice is immediately trivialised and whitewashed into dead, thin airtime.

Unfortunately the camera doesn’t pan out and we’re stuck inside this ad world, left to simultaneously cringe and mock whoever let this pile of misguided drivel go ahead.

North Four, North London magazine, protest, opinion piece, lifestyle, trump, women's march, brexit, riots, uprising, human rights, march, rally

However the protest ad did serve some purpose. For a brief, albeit awkward, moment Pepsi wasn’t ‘the other one’. Enjoying a small step outside of Coke’s shadow, Pepsi went to take a bow downstage, seconds before the next PR constructed Kardashian act snowballed and elbowed those little blue cans flying into the wings.

But people were still outraged. Because their target audience, a bunch of ‘easily offended snowflakes’, are the very ones out there protesting. For real.

“It will be okay. It will be okay.”

The message spread all over the world like goosebumps
North Four, North London magazine, protest, opinion piece, lifestyle, trump, women's march, brexit, riots, uprising, human rights, march, rally

The Women’s March in January had sharper elbows this year, taking place the day after after a known sexist and ‘pussy grabber’ (amongst other delightful attributes) was inaugurated as President of the United States.

The march was non violent, and attended by record numbers of people. It was a mature and witty response to the otherwise depressing and disappointing, Trump-shaped news.

The message spread all over the world like goosebumps, that this was are a formidable bunch with a load of celebrity mates and supporters of varying genders. The Women’s March was about projecting a state of mind and a body of strength, not just about gender, celebrating democracy and diversity.

But why did so many Americans vote him in? What were we missing? There were similar questions being asked across Europe amidst Brexit. During the EU leave/remain campaigns, the outcome seemed like a no brainer. 

North Four, North London magazine, protest, opinion piece, lifestyle, trump, women's march, brexit, riots, uprising, human rights, march, rally

I was sure that we’d all vote to remain because, besides my list of seemingly obvious reasons why, all I could see in front of my own nose were Remain posters, EU flags flying and friends’ Bremain meme posts online. Staying awake to the surprising poll results, I realised I’d been lulled into a false sense of security by the comforting sounds of my own echo chamber.

Switching off political preferences and filters on social media accounts and following users with polar opinions to my own, I started to understand why the majority of the Country voted to leave the EU. I hadn’t been listening, I hadn’t even thought to. I didn’t know how to anymore since I’d managed to shield myself from any other opinion by my own algorithms. I hadn’t tried to talk to anyone about what the outcome of Brexit would mean for the UK, because I’d assumed everyone knew and felt the same. But not only that, I’d assumed no-one would listen.

On American social channels for example, I read of the injustice felt by women banned from joining an Anti Trump protest rally because they supported pro life and were strictly anti abortion. The right to march, the right to have a say, jarring with a woman’s right to decisions about her own body.

North Four, North London magazine, Valentines, dating, online vs offline dating

The outcome of the snap General Election in June 2017 highlighted the fact that every single voice matters. In some constituencies the gap between Labour and Tory majorities was so small that the phrase “my little vote doesn’t matter” gave you a kick up the arse and a reason to speak up and explain why it does. Regardless of which party you supported or felt apathy for.

Love trumps hate in every day small acts

Between Theresa May calling for the election on April 18th and the voting registration deadline a month later, 1.05 million 18-24 year olds registered to vote. The youth vote during the snap election was at an all time high and managed to create a shift, increasing Labour’s share of the vote by 42% and delivering a 10 point rise in Labour’s vote. One exit poll suggested turnout among under 35s rose by 12 points compared with 2015, to 56% with a 72% turnout for 18 – 25 year olds.

North Four, North London magazine, protest, opinion piece, lifestyle, trump, women's march, brexit, riots, uprising, human rights, march, rally, love, love trumps hate

“It will be okay. It will be okay.”

There is strength in big numbers. But there is also strength in small acts.

In April, Dutch men all over the world publicly held hands to show solidarity for married couple Jasper Vernes-Sewratan and Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes who were brutally beaten in Arnhem as an act of homophobic hate crime. The idea spread after journalist Barbara Berend tweeted asking for men, regardless of sexuality, to walk hand in hand. This form of small protest, can be just as moving as a ‘million people on a march’, spreading online, garnering attention and showing love trumps hate in every day small acts.

“It will be okay, it will be okay, it will be okay”: repeat it as you march down to the polling booth.

“It will be okay, it will be okay”: chant it as you start an inspirational soft protest.

“It will be okay, it will be okay”: say it while you switch off your echo chambers and listen.

Original illustrations bu Julia Potocnik

Photos by Mike Barry

Brave Sir Robin Opening 14th December 2017
Eat & Drink

Local Thinking, Craft Beer Drinking: Brave Sir Robin Launches in Crouch Hill

Carouse founders Chris, Theo and Ben – the charming folk behind Kentish Town’s Rose and Crown – have a new venture afoot and we couldn’t be more bloody excited to see it. We’ve been creeping in their windows, peering through the paint and sneaking glimpses at builders’ bums for a few months now (okay, maybe not the last one), watching these guys transform this cosy corner of Crouch Hill into a rather cool little boozer. Now they’re opening and everyone is invited. Come one, come all, and try all 20 of their beers on tap with us.

Read More...
Back of persons head with cigarette tucked over ear
Events

Body Hammer: Clubbing, but not how you know it

Last month I decided to try clubbing again. I don’t quite know what came over me, but I actually (brace yourselves) enjoyed it. I went to Body Hammer’s monthly party in Manor House and I’m here to tell you to go too, whether you love clubbing, hate clubbing, or really couldn’t care either way. #notspon

Read More...
Close up of person shoving a stuffed potato skin into her mount at Skins in The Magic Roundabout for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Go Your Own Way at Skins' Fleetwood Mac & Cheese Night

Rich, fried, buttery, potato-y vessels loaded with flavor combinations that go down rather well with craft beer, late nights and good times. Ha, who am I kidding, EVERYTHING goes down well with beer. You heard that right buddy, loaded potato skins are back with a bang (and a generous portion of bacon) and are currently being served at Old Street's The Magic Roundabout by street food pop-up Skins and we could not be any happier. Well, unless they were to stuff it with, say, Mac and Cheese or risotto. Oh, that's exactly what they do? Well paint me green and call me a cucumber.

Read More...
Christmas Gift Guide by Pretty Shiny Shop in Stroud Green North London
Lifestyle List

A Very Pretty Shiny Christmas Gift Guide

Magical gifts, wonderful gifts, marvellous gifts, beautiful gifts, gifts, glorious gifts glo-ri-ous giiiiiifts. Please Sir, I want some more. It’s that time of year again and whether you love it or loathe it gifts will be purchased and presented into expectant hands. Stroud Green's very own Pretty Shiny Shop have compiled a gift guide to help ease the shopping shock. Imagine only having to trot to your local gift shop and tick off your entire shopping list in one fell swoop. Done, finito, terminado! To make it that little sweeter, it's also all very affordable... so you won't even have to pick a pocket or two.

Read More...
Three people clinking plastic glasses in the air in a tent with people in the background at Thor's Tipi Bar in Regent's Place
Eat & Drink Events

Drink, Feast, Conquer, Repeat. Thor's Tipi Bar Has Arrived.

Alright guys, it’s happening. The frosty charm of December is, once again, being beaten to a pulp by the capitalists’ wet dream: Christmas. The hideous twinkling of artificial outdoor lighting is starting to appear, with tourists flocking from far and wide to watch D-list celebrities press a button. Invitations to Christmas parties flood in from your multiple part-time jobs, ensuring you make bad decisions bi-weekly til next year. Supermarkets are selling 12-day advent calendars containing confetti, cookie cutters and candles for a flawless £50. And oh, how the mulled wine flows.

Read More...
Girl peeking through gold and pink balloons at Top Balloon in Shop Stroud Green for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Shop Stroud Green Christmas Trail 2017

Who doesn’t love a cheeky statistic, correctly sourced? You know we do. Well, did you know that for every £1 spent with a small business, 63p is re-spent in the local area, as opposed to a measly 40p in every £1 re-spent locally with larger businesses? An absolute travesty, am I right? That 23p has to mean something, right, guys?! Guys? Guys, where are you going? Wait, there’s freebies involved too!

Read More...
Eat & Drink Events Lifestyle List

Top 4 'Christmas is just a bad excuse for a' Winter Markets

By gum there are a lot of winter markets this year. Fueled by sickly sweet mulled wine and overpriced pulled pork sliders, we’ve managed to wade our way through the murky waters of winter markets and find some decent looking ones round this here part of town. Don’t let our Grinch-esq vibes put you off (I’m more of a Pancake Day person myself) because, if you’re into markets, you’ll probably like these. Read on, if you’re merrier than us.

Read More...
The Vinteriors team and Mary le Comte at Moseyhome in Finsbury Park, North London for 'Style My Shop'.
Lifestyle

Style My Shop: Vinterior x Moseyhome

Take a short walk along Finsbury Park’s own sunset strip and you’ll find MoseyHome, an interiors retailer and styling consultancy who have invited us to collaborate with them on an exciting new series titled 'Style My Shop', in which they invite some of London's most talented interiors experts to quite literally style their shop. Interiors porn at it's finest.

Read More...
Eat & Drink Events List

Top Five "It's That Time Of Year Again" Things To Do This Winter

Why was the snowman sad? Because he had a meltdown. Much like us, every year, when winter comes. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we know Christmas is on its way. But hey, it’s not all bad – the events round this time of year can be pretty swell. So don your scarf-shawl-blanket and get your frolic on, it’s time for fairy lights, scarfing mulled wine and stuffing your face!

Read More...
Hand feeling colourful splashes of artwork at Smith and Sinclair Flavour Gallery
Culture Eat & Drink Events

Suck it at The Flavour Gallery

Touch, taste, smell, hear and create art. Smith & Sinclair, purveyors of the Edible Cocktail, presents The Flavour Gallery: a multi-sensory adventure that’ll seduce your senses and tickle your taste buds beyond all imagination. Ooh matron!

Read More...
Hodgepodge on Crouch Hill, North London. New restaurant opening November 2017
Eat & Drink

New Opening: Hodgepodge Crouch Hill

Offering modern British cuisine with a smokey twist, Crouch Hill's newest contender to its foodie scene, Hodge Podge, is all minimal styling and hearty yet inventive dishes.

Read More...
Cartoon of vampires standing in tunnel for London Horror Festival
Events List

Top 4 ‘Eat, drink and be scary’ All Hallows haunts

Brush the cobwebs off your sexy banana costume; it’s that time of year to make a tit of yourself in fancy dress again. We’ve rounded up the most spine-chilling Halloween happenings in North London and, trust us, they sound horrendous. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Read More...
Eat & Drink Events

The Moroccan Medina at The Queen of Hoxton Rooftop

God bless the Queen... of Hoxton. Or, more specifically, their rooftop - which happens to be one of our favourites in this here city of London. These guys are well known for creating beautiful, seasonal pop-ups which have included the Nordic Viking themed 'Skye Halla' and the Neverland inspired 'Bangarang'. This winter make way for 'The Moroccan Medina', a sky high hideaway inspired by the romanticism of the beguiling ancient city of Marrakesh.

Read More...
Mento, floristry cafe in finsbury park, North London
Eat & Drink

Mento: Flowers and Coffee

Next time you need a caffeine hit why not take it from a cup brewed from Jamaican beans grown under a canopy of rainforest-preserving trees, whilst eating a home made vegan banana bread as you sit among an array of sweetly scented blooms. Welcome to Mento, Finsbury Park.

Read More...
Eat & Drink

Pilgrim: A Unique Spanish Pop-up Dining Experience

Pilgrim, the newest kid to Hackney's pop-up scene, is a unique dining experience inspired by the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. This six course tasting menu includes regional dishes with a contemporary twist not yet seen before in London.

Read More...