Thursday, April 27, 2017
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Rob Delaney Archive

Rob Delaney

The Notting Hill Carnival - From Race Riots to Just Plain Riots

October 2nd, 2009
by Rob Delaney

LONDON, UK-

At first, you think it looks like the Revolution. And then you think: If the Revolution did look like this, I wouldn’t want in.

The Notting Hill Carnival was inaugurated in 1958 as a response to race-riots directed against Jamaican immigrants. Now, half a century on, Notting Hill has succeeded in eradicating the race-riots completely - and replacing them with riots that are cheerfully apolitical, the kind with no particular motive behind them whatsoever. The Notting Hill Carnival is, more than anything, a Dionysian opportunity for people to get wrecked and, usually around wind-up time on closing night, to wreck things.

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Rob Delaney

The Grimmest Squat in London

September 5th, 2009
by Rob Delaney

LONDON-

It had been a bad morning, the day I went out to look at the squat. I’d had a bitter fight with Binh and then she had a violent premonition: she saw me, she said, lying in a pool of blood; there were spilled pills and a crack of gunshot. It was, I had thought, a fairly stylised, cinematic instance of clairvoyance, but it chilled me nonetheless. It’s the East in her, these depths and silences I don’t understand.

I met Noel, an anarchist colleague from the school where I’d recently found a job, out in East London. Tower Hamlets, the place was called, allegedly the poorest area in Britain.

The high-rise was as long as the street, with five floors, and the whole building had been squatted. It was grey, desolate and forbidding, like a Communist residential block in Eastern Europe fallen into post-Soviet, feral abandonment. Slogans had been daubed in big letters along the balconies on the higher floors:

 

SQUATTERS’ CITY OF PEACE; GOD IS SQUATTING HERE WITH US

 

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