Posts Tagged 'London'

What kind of person takes part in a riot?


I live in a world filled with bowls of pasta, cups of tea, and Aaron cardigans.  I live a sheltered life in a town where very little happens.  On Sunday night I stayed awake all night, until 5.00 am, glued to Twitter, reading with horror about London being destroyed.  I have a deep love of London, of the places, street names, buildings, and the people.  Seeing the photographs of a very particular type of person setting it alight gave me a lurch in the stomach, and made me feel intensely sick.

Tonight, after following the events solely on Twitter, I turned on the news, and, as much as I hate clichés, my mouth fell open, and I almost cried.  Seeing the destruction and brainless violence, by people who won’t even show their face, brings me to tears.  How inhuman and de-socialised do you have to be, how intensely do you have to feel separate to the country you live in, to want to destroy it?

I’ve grown up in England, and feel it in my bones.  As furious and disenchanted as I am sometimes with the Government and the way the country’s run, I never feel separate to Britain; I feel part of something very special.  As an Englishman I feel part of a nation that once ruled an empire spanning most of the world, in spite of the fact that we’re a very small island.  In Britain we have something very, very noble and special, and only people who have come from outside and don’t feel part of it could ever want to hurt it.

The fact that a man was killed by the police (a man who pulled his gun out first) may have ignited the first fire, but the brainless vigilantes who are sucking everything they can find out of every shop, and burning every building they come across, are not looting in the name of Mark Duggan.

Living in quiet, middle-class England, I understand that the Police have shortcomings, and are often guilty of corruption, but on a basic level they’re there to protect us.  If I’m in trouble; if someone breaks into my house, or I’m attacked on the way home, I ring the Police, and they come.  If I ring them then shortly after, they come and fix my problem.  With a few exceptions, they are good men and women. Policemen do a job passionately, and they are a strong force to stand up for people who follow the law.  I wish desperately that I could make the young people in London who feel so outrageously indignant about Police brutality realise that you only get shot by Police if you shoot them first, or put yourself in a position where they point their guns at you.  People who work hard, follow the law, and lead normal, quiet lives, will never face the barrel of a Police gun, or any gun.  Mark Duggan died because of the life he lead.

Any sympathy that might have been afforded to these people, any respect, or consideration, has been wiped out in fire.  No-one will ever take them seriously again, and they’ve sealed the same fate for everyone else.  When the students protested back in December, I felt so strongly that it would have been far more effective, instead of rioting and causing violence, to sit in the road outside Westminster, and outside the party offices, in complete silence, to stop traffic.  Imagine if the politicians had to step over thousands of silent, staring faces, who wouldn’t move.  How much more dramatic and powerful would that have been?

Violence is one of those things in life which is totally counter-productive, and does the opposite of what you want it to.

The people destroying London are not British, and are not human.  British people would never destroy any city, let alone London, and I hope that doesn’t make me sound racist, but we love London.

My Favourite Things This Spring: London, Trousers, and Moments.

These are the things making me smile this Spring…

1. London 

One thing I love, and it isn’t a new thing, but something I’ve been obsessed by for years, is when Londoners put ‘The’ in front of a road name.  For example, someone from London doesn’t just say ‘King’s Road’ they say ‘The King’s Road’.  I love anything which is intrinsically and traditionally ‘London’.  I love the people, the streets, and buildings, and parks, I love London as a living entity, and so I love anything which makes you instantly aware of its own metropolitan authenticity. It’s like music to me, that intoxicating London lilt; ‘Where did you see him, Bill?’, ‘I saw him down The Tottenham Court Road’.

This picture was taken backstage at a production of Rocky Horror, at The King’s Road Theatre, in 1976.  It embodies the King’s Road atmosphere and reputation for punks, theatre and creativity.

I love this quote, which I found with the photograph; “Back again.  This time, the first ‘West-End’ production at The Comedy Theatre, re-staged by the original director, Jim Sharman. It was only towards the end of this run that we noticed a strange phenomenon; American tourists who seemed to think they were part of the show  started shouting out stuff, much to their own amusement …

We just thought they were twats.”

The photo is a beautifully typical snapshot of unseen London life, one of those moments that happens with people who aren’t beautiful, aren’t scripted, but are alive in a room together, somewhere down a dark street in London.  This brings me onto my second item…

2. Moments

I love the moments in life, the moments that aren’t planned and often only seen by one person, or a few, which are breathtakingly beautiful.  I was on the train today, it was early evening, about five o’clock.  I was listening to The Cure, looking out of the train window at fields which were green, shining with the rain that had been falling earlier in the day, in bright sunshine.  The carriage was quiet and empty, and it was a beautiful moment.  I think I may have written about this before, but just in case I haven’t… Last year, early in the summer, I was walking the Dog, and I turned onto the Heath, just as the sun was setting, and I looked out across the fields of horses, and boys playing football, and the empty Heath, just as For Lovers by Pete Doherty started playing in my earphones.  I feel like a pompous prig for saying this, but that moment almost made my cry.

I recently wrote in a poem;

What about the English air
steeped in home-cooked chip fat
in late-afternoon sun,
and that place in the Colosseum
where every wayfarer stands to have their photograph taken?
Moments of well-worn summer
like comfortable clothes
in the quietness of a moment alone,
an outfit that no-one will see,
a minute’s picture-idyll,
the light catching the natural arrangement of blonde hair,
like cotton against your legs
that only you will feel.

3. Trousers

Being short in height and somewhat rotund, it isn’t easy to find clothes which are flattering.  In my head I look like a Jack Wills model, in reality I look like a Julie Walters character.  However, I recently found a pair of trousers which I like.  I always believed that I could only get away with certain things, and that I couldn’t go near anything chic or stylish, but these trousers are chic.  They were from Zara, around £22, which is a bargain in my eyes.  I love them, and will wear them all summer.

(I’ll add a picture to this Blog when I don’t have a towel on my head).

Goodreads – What I’m Reading

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Sylvia Plath said; "Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences". My aim in life is to find things and people to love, so that I can write about them. Putting words together is the only thing I can see myself doing. This blog is an outlet, and I hope you enjoy reading it. Please feel free to comment on posts, or contact me by the special e-mail I've set up ( with your thoughts.

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The New Remorse, Oscar Wilde.

The sin was mine; I did not understand.
So now is music prisoned in her cave,
Save where some ebbing desultory wave
Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
And in the withered hollow of this land
Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave,
That hardly can the leaden willow crave
One silver blossom from keen Winter's hand.

But who is this who cometh by the shore?
(Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this
Who cometh in dyed garments from the South?
It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss
The yet unravished roses of thy mouth,
And I shall weep and worship, as before.

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Music I Love (In no particular order, except that The Smiths are first)

The Smiths,
The Libertines,
The Courteeners,
Nina Simone,
Pete Doherty,
The Kills,
Amy Winehouse,
Arctic Monkeys,
Rod Stewart,
The Doors,
The Rolling Stones,
Etta James,
T. Rex,
The Jam,
The Kinks,
Jack White,
The Deadweather,
David Bowie,
The Winchesters,
The Cure,
Kaiser Chiefs,
The Kooks,
The Twang,
Kings Of Leon,
The Housemartins,
The Ramones,
Robots in Disguise,
The Klaxons,
Kate Nash,
The Raconteurs,
Regina Spektor,
Aretha Franklin,
The Contours,
Dirty Pretty Things,
The White Stripes,
New York Dolls,
Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
The Clash,
Style Council,
Velvet Underground,
The Horrors,
The Cribs,
Reverend and The Makers,
The Subways,
The Wombats,
Elle S'appelle,
The Troggs,
The Beatles,
Echo and the Bunnymen,
Florence and the Machine.

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

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Will it ever be alright for Blighty to have a Queen Camilla?

One less tree from our window each day

Vikki's bookshelf: read

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Of Mice and Men
Pride and Prejudice
The Hobbit
The Da Vinci Code
Tipping the Velvet
Wuthering Heights
The Picture of Dorian Grey and Other Works by Oscar Wilde
Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Irish Peacock & Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde
The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman
Moab Is My Washpot
The Bell Jar
The Other Boleyn Girl
On the Road
Brideshead Revisited
Revolutionary Road

Vikki Littlemore's favorite books »

Share book reviews and ratings with Vikki, and even join a book club on Goodreads.


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