Elbow into the future

It’s noon.  The Journalist and I get on our bikes and skim through the sunshine through hackney along broadway market onto the canal, off the canal into angel, through Holborndown Charing cross and onto Trafalgar Square where REPRIEVE are gathering. We are here to introduce  George Bush into the country. He arrives at Downing St at 2.30pm but our part is at Trafalgar Square around the corner from Downing Street, at  3pm.

We are here primarily to remind Bush about Binyam Mohammed a  man from Kensington,  incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay. While incarcerated Binyam is  subject totorture. This includes sleep deprivation. George Bush plays Barney’s theme tune twenty four hours a day. Barney is a famous childrens character. This is only a smallexample of  twisted torture technique which Binyam is subject to  day to day.. 

We arrive and the crowd builds.  There is an irony. The last time I was herewas with thousands of Ethioians celebrating the Ethiopian millennium. Reprieveare also the guests of Massive Attack at Meltdown at The South Bank  and likethe famed pigeons of Trafalgar Square a bank of photographers descends. It ishere I meet the famed civil rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith an affable focused lawyer who works for reprieve, who started reprieve and who is a true star. 

Robert Del Naja  of massive Attack  turns up, we shake hands and exchange pleasantries.   The last time we spoke would have been  about twenty years ago when I helped with an album made with his first band The Wild Bunch on an anti drugs project in Bristol.  I am under no illusion that he would remember and  don’t even broach the subject.   I lent that album to a little man called coincidentally, Barney, originally from Bristol, now based in Manchester.  Michael Anthony Barnes-Wynters.  I am still trying to get my things back – they mean a lot to me. As I am talking to Robert in Trafalgar and Alex Grace ofreprieve takes our picture. Got to get that picture.

After the protest the journalist and I go over the River Thames to The South Bank.  It’s buzzing.   Elbow are rehearsing with an all male choir in The Blue Room situated in thelusciously named Spirit Level beneath the royal festival hall.  I walk into the room and there they are in all their glory. Rehearsal is the greatest thing. Mary King is directing the Malevoice Choir while Elbow play and Guy sings. The string section is lined up against the wall. The joint is right “lemn” Guy Garvey says “Guy” I say at precisely the same time.  Hugs all round and kisses for Mary King. I then stand back and listen to the magic.

The Journalist and I listen to the most gorgeous song right there and then. What a treat, we get some food and sit in the sunshine. At 6.30pm  we go to the purcel rooms theatre towatch taxi To The Dark Side an academy award winning documentary about an afghan taxi driver who  killed by The American Army under George Bushes new regime of deliberate torture technique.  The film was followed by a talk by Moazzam Beg and Clive Stafford Smith. At 10pm we go home after  a day, rich with culture and protest as acelebration of the freedom of speech all enclosed in the exploding spirit of The southbank. Gorgeous.. 

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