good times bad times


Just found your text, thanks - these are bad times indeed. I was away over the weekend, so missed the initial disturbances and then drove back on monday from Suffolk arriving in Hackney at 6.30pm on route to islington from the A12, only to drive straight into a war zone. It was very very frightening. As we entered Hackney we started noticing big groups of black youths and adults on street corners - in unusual numbers. Thought this was a bit odd and then thought to ourselves - hang on we're just being paranoid, and then at a set of traffic lights a black guy in a small car appeared from a council estate to my right, ignored the red traffic light, ignored the road layout and drove up the opposite lane and ahead of all of us in the queing cars. I thought -shit - what the hell is he doing? Then started feeling very uneasy and aware that something was going on at the next junction. We took a left turn and passed a police station where aload of community officers had gathered, surrounded by riot gear on the pavement, then as we carried on up the road came to a a wall of fully armoured up riot police with their backs to us, blocking the road ahead. This was very scary, so we turned round and tried to take the first side road and a guy near a reporters/ TV van waved his arms around and shouted 'don't go up there', we had to do a total U-turn and get the hell out of Hackney, I tuned the radio into the local station as we drove away and they just reported a car being set on fire in Hackney and rioting starting. We had to head back on to the A12 and enter London via the Whitechapel/city bit. Then masses of riot police vans were speeding past us in the opposite direction. It was all very alarming - especially after having spent a week in the rural tranquility of Norfolk and Suffolk.

I spent the rest of monday evening feeling totally freaked out, we had BBCNews24 on all the time, watching all the violence and mayhem unfold. The scenes of buildings burning out of control in Croydon were really disturbing, and Clapham Junction got it bad too. I have to say I have found the whole thing very upsetting, watching the news pictures and reports yesterday made me cry. I cannot bare mindless thuggery and destruction, seeing people's homes burnt out, being made homeless because braindead scum want to wield gang power and feed their greed for flat screen tvs, mobile phones an expensive trainers. The whole thing is vile. Really really shaming for the country and the whole world watching - especially with the Olympics coming up - what a nightmare. Now all these poor communities have been set back again - with millions of pounds worth of damage being done and all the local councils already crippled by cuts have to take on this extra burden too. How did some elements of society get reduced to so much lowlife scum?

Anyway as I'm sure you have seen the trouble has spread across the country with the Midlands and Manchester being hit really hard too. Three guys dead in Wolverhampton. Due to the massive police presence, London last night was relatively quiet but tense as hell. All the shops on Holloway and Upper street closed early because there was fear it would move there, as Camden, Chalkfarm and Dalston had been hit monday night. So suffice to say - it aint great being in London at the moment,  but it must be weird for you to watch stuff on the news and see it in foreign newspapers.

I went into central London today, to the Hayward Gallery to see the Tracy Emin show with Joe, it was bizarre - a warm sunny day full of tourists and families on days out - you would not have known anything was wrong. Central London seemed totally untarnished and uneffected by the total mayhem and violence a few miles out in its sprawling boroughs. So odd.

Anyway that's my report from the war zone tonight - lets hope there is no more of this shit ....

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