Yesterday I left the flat to discover the RMT had organised an anti-cuts rally under the surprising slogan "We're all in this together". I'll remember that next time there's a tube strike cos your drivers are demanding free unicorns, Bob.
It is a hazard living on the same street as the RMT. Periodically you'll find the road blocked with TV vans, or, as yesterday, socialist workers with duffle coats pouncing on Saturday shoppers nipping into Costcutter.
Around the corner, the local fire station were also protesting the cuts. Their approach was to fill the road with firemen. Frankly I'd have taken a leaflet off them if it had said "Death to Kittens".
I got back to the flat and tried to work while hearing people blarting "Comrades..." at each other through megaphones. I rolled my eyes. Political protest sucks.
Then my friend Joe tells me that it's been a year since there was a Gay Hate Crimes Vigil in Trafalgar Square and they're doing another one. So, I go to that. Hypocrisy goes well with candles.
It's a nice thing, if you can call an event to protest gay people being kicked to death nice. Some of the speeches are really moving. The problem is that various protest groups view it less as a protest and more as a giant marketing pen. So, you'll be stood there trying to listen to Harvey Milk's nephew and someone will flyer you, get you to do a survey, take a newspaper or... frankly, fuck off. Couldn't you all just stand at the entrance to Trafalgar Square and do us as we leave, eh?
The event itself is fine, if padded. Two hours of speeches is a bit much, and soon people are running out of variations on "Hate hate, love love, please don't kick the gays". We kind of get that, otherwise we wouldn't be stood here with candle wax dripping down our hands. Some of us have even turned off Grindr during the two minute silence. Of course, it's all put into perspective by an Aussie friend of a friend who has been dragged along. "What's the point of this?" he sulks a bit loudly, "I mean, that kind of thing doesn't happen here, does it? This is England." Um, yes, yes it does. Quite a lot, actually. And that's why we're here.
It's the morning after, and I'm still finding those damn fliers in the back of my jeans. Apparently there's a "March and Carnival" against racism, fascism and Islamophobia coming up. What is this, Amazon's "People who like Gay Hate Crime also like..."?
And here's a leaflet suggesting that I hold my same sex partner's hand in public. For one thing, I should be so lucky. For another, it's got a picture of two lesbians in wheelchairs holding hands as they go over a bridge. What's interesting is the reactions of the people in the background. They're not going "ooh, lesbo touching" or "eurgh, disableds" but "I'm sorry, but you are blocking the bloody bridge, ladies". Even their dog is edging out of the way. The leaflet is printed on lovely lovely card. Lovely glossy card. Lovely glossy expensive card. Lovely glossy expensive "does David Cameron know who your printer is?" card.
I vow now, if I should miraculously get a same-sex partner, I will of course hold their hand in public. Out of pride and also to make sure they can't escape.