Friday, 12 August 2011
A night to remember. Hackney has more recently been blessed with a reputation for art, culture, diversity .. old factories converted into trendy apartments, ever expanding fair-trade markets, music venues opening in shop basements.. not forgetting the 2012 olympics being built. I was sitting outside my local boozer The Tiger having an ice cold GnT in the cool breeze of the sweltering heat and five police riot vans sped past, towards Homerton High Street which leads to Mare Street via Morning Lane. Then came the helicopters. The news of Riots taking place on Mare Street appeared on the TV in the pub and one by one people started leaving to get home before the riots spread. One by one small businesses, be it shops, pubs, restaurants.. closed up. Those that wanted to remain open for business turned off their lights to attract attention. I went for a short walk which felt like a scene from 28 Days Later had I have turned a corner onto Mare Street it would be just like the live footage from Sky News, BBC and ITV News seen all over the country.
I spoke to a local resident outside the bank queueing up for the cash point who didn't want to be photographed but had bought four brooms, dust pans and brushes, encouraging the community to help clear the mess. Angered by what had happened, especially in the Clapham riots - where a building was set on fire - she cleared out the two spare rooms in her house incase the rioters returned and did something similar and residents needed refuge. She was so sure that the rioters were coming back she whispered to me "I'm gonna withdraw all the money in my account because after they've come back there'll be nothing left".