August 3, 2005 by cosmoakacitizensmith
u may well notice that there are discrepancies between the date at the top of the page and the title of the entry, and gaps between them.
well, this is getting written in retrospect so i suppose it serves as a way for me to come to terms with what has happened. and it’s quite hard to deal with and go back there in a lot of ways, so it’s taking time.
plus i was the one that blew up edinburgh castle with all those little children in it and ran away laughing and screaming: “this one is for osama bin laden and the global struggle against the infidel….erm, i mean global capitalism. erm, i mean the fox hunting bill or whatever….” so i don’t want to prejudice my case when it comes up.
did i just land myself in it? rent-a-cause, me.
back to the narrative…..
edinburgh is a beautiful city and i’ve spent many happy times here. only now i am running around the centre of town trying to work out what the hell is going on and why the place looks like a warzone. there is a demo scheduled. from what i understand it is to be a “carnival for full enjoyment,” an opporunity to cock a snook at the work-a-day world culture and press for more fullfilling alternatives.
only this looks like an excuse for a ruck.
the bizarre samba band i mentioned in a previous post, with its wailing vocals and sound effects and public enemy style military garb, has been hemmed in at the far end of princes street. several friends are caught in it and i keep texting them to find out how they are.
further down the other end, there are clashes with police and more people hemmed in.
at one point a single copper tries to stop a group of young polish kids from climbing over the fence onto a bench and escaping the cordon. the kids look contemptuously at the copper, surround the bench by linking arms and everyone gets away scot free.
power to the people! freedom for tooting!
the people not taking part in the demo look on bemused, angry, frightened or they don’t register it at all. some positively love the fact that the police look like they have been caught on the hop, and one or two of them look like they want to join in. surreally, i can walk a few minutes down the street and there are no signs of the rucks going on nearby. it all looks normal, with people shopping and going about their business.
the clown army need a mention here. they dress up like erm…. clowns and hang around in groups doing daft, child-like stuff. tourists and passers-by love and the coppers can’t help but laughing. they were getting on some peoples’ nerves by the end but they had a good thing going in my book, always acting and keeping it together well.
you would have hardly noticed that coppers and anarchists were locking horns only a few feet away. nice copper, nasty copper? what about nice activists, nasty activists?
i see a man in a huge robotic suit break off from a crowd and freak out the lines of police horses. there is nothing they can do about it.
at another point, i see a couple of black faces come out of the mainly white, european crowd. from there accents i would assume they are from the west indies. they are trying to get away from a stand-off between police and demonstrators in princes street. one of them is saying “africa doesn’t need this…..”
back at the ranch in stirling, an incredible hip-hop trio called suicide bomb posse do a set. one of the MCs, a girl, keeps up her rap after the beats stopped. she is screaming with such an incredible intensity words to the effect: “they are trying to divide us and keep us small, but we’re all here and we think the same way and they can’t do it….” top notch for all concerned. nicely articulated rage. if u know anything about this lot, please let me know. i can’t find them on the web.
at one point the electricity has to be turned off because but in one tent, people still want music. step forward riot folk, a collective of american folk musicians who specialise in unamplified, powerful, uplifting, anarchist songs. pretty soon they spellbind the audience with their tracks, including “the times they are not a-changing,” a shameless and poignant re-write of the dylan classic. u can downlaod their tunes for free at http://www.riotfolk.org.
the crowd goes mental and it sets the tone for the next few days. choppers fly by overhead and everyone takes stock. william wallace looks on in approval.