You should try standing outside and across the road from the official residence of the leader of whatever country you live in, being herded into a holding pen by the police or equivalent security forces, stand facing the busy traffic, tying a blind fold around your head and repeating the words “stop torture… stop torture… stop torture…” for half an hour on a freezing cold Sunday afternoon.
The things I do for entertainment.
I’ve been here for a while, and a few weeks ago, just before the summer ended, myself and He Who Only… found ourselves standing outside Downing Street for no particular reason other than we had happened to be passing. That time, I stood with my face pressed to the iron gates and staring in at the street, remarking on how unimpressive and small it all looked, and saying all the things that everyone says the first time they see something in real life that they usually see on the television.
This time round though, it did have an air of importance about it all, mainly because we were all dressed in black and shouting angrily towards it. That kind of thing is going to give anything an air of authority.
My former housemate has recently started working on a voluntary basis for Amnesty International, and I agreed that it would be a good use of my time to accompany her to a demonstration outside of Downing Street, just so I could go and shout at old Tony Blairs and feel like I’d done something useful with my spare time for once, rather than just the usual kicking tramps and drowning babies that I get up to of a weekend.
A man at the front of the main group also wore a hood over his head and a noose around his neck for the duration, and obviously was the recipient of most of the press interest, but I found the diversity of the group protesting really interesting. A group of goth teenagers stood beside us, messing about for the most part but wholeheartedly joined in the chanting with that spirit of true belief that only teenagers can muster. On the other side of us, a group of pensioners stood quietly, moving occasionally from foot to foot to keep the cold off.
It’s quite frightening to be blindfolded, even voluntarily and even just for a short while. Buses were going past, and every now and again a car would slow down and sound their horn in encouragement, which added to the feeling of chaos and disorientation caused by lack of sight. The stickers on the back of the blindfold, telling you when to put them on and how long to wear them for, rub up against your skin and make you sweat despite the freezing cold surroundings and I lasted about three straight minutes in total before taking it off and wandering about with the excuse of taking photos.