This blog is a bit of a weird one, which involved me discovering a blockbuster of a song after almost getting arrested on Westminster Bridge, London. This event typifies the type of thing that has happened to me in my life.
At the time, late 1988, I was studying at Portsmouth Art School, doing an ‘Environmental Design’ B-tech, (a pre-architecture course). Thatcher, in her wisdom, was trying to bring in student loans to replace the then higher education funding system of grants. Unsurprisingly, this was very unpopular with the student population. Several demonstrations (which ultimately failed) took place to campaign against this proposed legislation. As an anarchist, I joined the call to arms and attended many of these events, up in London.
I was still living with my parents at the time (as I wanted the comforts of home, including good home cooking) so on this occasion, a Thursday in December, I had planned to meet my fellow protestors from college, up in London. It made more sense to go directly to London than making my usual, one hour each way, daily commute from Winchester to Portsmouth,
The march happened just outside central London, ending up in Finsbury Park for a rally. I think the authorities wanted to keep us away from the heart of government. For some reason, I didn’t meet up with the people I had planned to, however, I bumped into a group of militant students from my college. “Okay”, I thought, “let’s just go with the flow”. After a little while of listening to the various speakers in the park, some people had the bright idea of descending on Westminster Bridge as a good way to make a big statement about the Loans Bill which was being debated in Parliament that day. So, off we went on our merry way to stop the traffic on the Bridge. Somehow or another, I managed to find myself at the front of this breakaway group. When we got there, we literally sat down, (sounds like a song by ‘James’, the Manchester Indie band!).
I planned to meet my brother, Joe, after the event, at the Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street, at the junction with Tottenham Court Road. At the time, he was studying in London, so it seemed like a good opportunity to meet up for a pint or two. I was getting slightly panicky sitting on Westminster Bridge, with a line of not very amused coppers looking down on us. “How the **** was I going to get out of this one without a night in a police cell?”, I thought to myself. Somehow or other, being a skinny lad at the time, I managed to wriggle my way back through the crowd to get a tube to our meeting point. I arrived a little early which was fortunate as the shop was playing a tune that literally blew me away and has since been a massive creative inspiration.
In the next part of this blog, I shall tell you all about this tune and my journey into the weird side of creativity.