So many times, when I’m writing up my experiences of following the Extinction Rebellion and its allied climate protests, the writing begins as a travelogue. Like my photography it’s a reason to travel, go new places, see new things.
This, is not one of those times. It was a local outbreak of a global protest, but it took place ten minutes from where I work. I spent an hour, perhaps a little more, in photographing it. And then I went back to the duties of the day. Somehow, stripped of the sense of occasion, it wasn’t quite the same. Or perhaps it’s simply that I’ve seen my home town in so many seasons that I cannot be impressed by it.
I’d seen the Facebook announcements, and lack of occasion notwithstanding there seemed no excuse not to go and get a few pictures. So in front of the railway station at noon I unpacked the cameras at the fringes of a larger crowd than I’d have thought. The range of ages struck me as well – yes there were the contingents in school uniform, there were the retirees. Less expected were the folks my age or thereabouts – the ones who’d normally be working at midweek. It’s little things like that which give me the sense of how seriously things are being taken.
Things got underway, there was a speech that someone gave via a bullhorn. And then the parade broke out, spilling into the road, and heading toward the waterfront. I moved around, got some shots of the parade –
Of the street,
And noticed my local assembly member.
Say what you will about these events, there’s always a decent number of witty and imaginative signs on display, so I snapped a few of those as the procession made its way along the road running beside the Victorian promenade.
At which point, things became more interesting as one of the marshall’s brought the parade to a stop.
I’ve seen them before, the red-shrouded and pale faced figures. I’d seen them in London, in Bristol. I’m still not sure what I’d call them. The XR Marshall called them the Red Brigade. If that’s the official designation then I don’t much care for it – it’s unimaginative, and the historic baggage of the phrase is no help to anyone.
They are, however, highly photogenic, and led to a pause in the proceedings before the parade moved on toward the town clocktower.
There it congregated, people pooling around the base of the tower, blocking the high street. There were further speeches, from the assembly member, by someone from the county council, by the from two teens who’d been organising the school strike.
And there, I’m afraid, is where I left it, to go and catch a bus to somewhere else, for another job.
It’s not a good ending – it always annoys me when I can’t see how these events end, when travel arrangements or real life leave me in this state of photographicus interruptus, but there it is.
Next time. Always next time.