Archive | August, 2012

Article in the Independent on Royal Wedding Judicial Review

15 Aug

The pre-emptive action to stop dissenting voices

Article originally appeared on The Independent Blog on Friday 3rd of August 2012

Republic demonstration on the day of the jublileeOn the day of the royal wedding I was arrested for being in fancy dress. I had gone to Soho Square to report on the zombie flashmob I’d heard about on Twitter. I planned to take photos, interview people, and report on it for a friend’s zombie blog. Five of us left the area when it looked like we might be kettled. We decamped to a nearby Starbucks to drink coffee and talk zombie movies. From there we were stopped and searched, arrested, handcuffed and held in police cells for hours. The reason: police interpreted the flashmob as an anti-royalist protest.

We were arrested for a ‘breach of the peace’. Two weeks ago the High Court dismissed four separate Judicial Reviews that myself and others brought against the Metropolitan police. The stage is set for extremely heavy-handed policing over the Olympics, and the crackdown has already begun. Continue reading

Beginner’s Guide to the Edinburgh Fringe

7 Aug

This article originally appeared in Bad Reputation – a feminist pop-culture adventure on 07 August 2012.

The Edinburgh Fringe has begun! I’m not there yet – I’ll get there next Saturday – but the Twitter updates from friends there are already making me jealous and nostalgic in almost equal measure. This year will be my fourth Fringe – so here’s a beginner’s guide from – if not an old hand – someone who’s been ’round the Edinburgh block a few times.

Welcome to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! Wave goodbye to your money, sobriety and any semblance of a normal sleep pattern. Say hello to the weird, the wonderful, and hysterical, dry-heaving laughter of a kind that won’t quite translate to the outside world.

Get ready to start spotting your idols just walking down the street, get ready to say ‘no thanks’ to flyers roughly every 30 seconds, and wind up taking them anyway because the person handing you them was funny/charming/in a funny costume/worryingly eager. Primarily: be prepared to be completely overwhelmed for choice.

Image of flyering on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh

No poster stays up for long before someone posts another over it

The very first time I went to the Fringe, I just dipped in for a day when I happened to be in Scotland. My travelling companion and I almost had panic attacks when we started leafing through the Fringe Brochure (about 1/3 the size of a Yellow Pages directory and stuffed full of tempting offers). In the end, we managed three shows in one day, literally ran from one venue to another to make it in time and managed a pretty full Fringe experience: Debbie Does Dallas: the Musical, the wonderful Aussie musical comedy guys Tripod, and Phil Jupitas Reads Dickens – which turned out to be just Phill Jupitas reading some of Dickens’ lesser-known short stories and – on that day – he was in a foul mood. Also: the day cost us £45 each in tickets alone. This was before I knew about the Free Fringe (more on that in a moment). Continue reading