The anti-austerity demonstration starts at 12 sharp. Or it would have done, but the police hold everyone until 1.30, presumably thinking people would get bored and leave. We march behind Arts Emergency, then the pink bloc Everything for Everyone
. The NUM march next to the Green Party. Marxists march with Class War. Animal rights activists, pro-Palestine people, Charlotte Church - all of humanity is here. There’s a lot of lurve for Jeremy Corbyn, the only Labour leader nominee in attendance. The police guard the war memorial monument and the boos and hisses go up as we pass Downing Street. Some shoppers on Fleet Street boo us, presumably because we are in their way, "Dossers," one woman says, as if the only reason people protest is because they have nothing better to do. A confused stag party, dressed as characters from computer games, try to cross the road. We take a quick break in Pret A Manger, bastion of capitalism, but here, it has failed as there are no sandwiches left; so much for supply and demand theory. However, the manager is chill with people using the toilets.
A better review
from LRB blog.
After Parliament Square, we walk away, back into normality, though the tourism of St James Park, past the pelicans. We meet Martin for his Central line birthday pub crawl at Holborn (some of the stag Marios are in here), moving onto that weird little pub next to Oxford Circus that I’ve passed a myriad of times but never been into. We stand outside and immediately it starts to rain, so we move onto Bond Street, a pub Rob’s sister used to work in during the late 90s. It’s now a Japanese bar so we have sake, which tastes like Fino sherry. Onto Marble Arch, a pub down a side street I could never find again; the cricket is on but we leave as England need 7 runs from 8 balls to win, I take my gin and tonic with me but leave it in Marble Arch tube station, onto Lancaster Gate where I’ve run out of drinking energy and retire, hurt.
Sunday, I go sit in Springfield Park for Music Day with Claire, Nic and Trev. The park has split into two - one half is thirty-something dads who've taken their kids to the park for Fathers' Day and are drinking beer the sunshine, watching a garagey band called Hot Dog Girl and pretending they're at Glastonbury - and the reggae/rap side, populated by white dreadlock-wearers with dogs, pretending they're at Womad. It reminds me a bit of the Green Fayres you'd get in the 90s/early 2000s where the local dub band would play and the council would give away free low energy lightbulbs and the travelling veggie van would be down from Nottingham.
We get the tube over to Hyde Park for the British Summer Time gig featuring Chic, Grace Jones and Kylie. I hope Grindr have turned on their back up servers. Chic are three quarters of the way through their set and are playing Le Freak when we enter. They go into a late 70s megamix mash up of Good Times and Rapper's Delight and then play Let's Dance. I wonder if they're going to do Notorious, but instead Nile brings on his celebrity pals, Sam Smith and The Edge. He's a living ledge, don't get me wrong, but it all feels a little bit cheesy. I'm presuming the backing lady singers aren't the original Chic-ers, they looks chic, but very young. Mind you, the portrait in Mr Rodgers' attic must be grimly gnarled by now.
Whereas Grace Jones's attic would be full of the body fat she doesn't have. The woman is the same age as my mother but she has never appeared on the stage of Bawtry Amateur Dramatic Society wearing nothing but a glittery bowler hat, a thong and body paint. At least, I hope not. She (Grace, not my mum) prowls the stage like a hungry lion, disappearing for costume additions, playing Slave To The rhythm, which she hula-hoops through, and Pull Up To The Bumper (I remember her performing the 1985 re-release on TOTP and DJ Mark Goodier saying: "I don't think this is about cars." No shit, Mark. I think even I, aged 12, knew that). She sings a few bars of Amazing Grace (why not go the whole hog and do Me and Mrs Jones?) and then, clad in a gladiatorial white head-dress and what strongly resembles the rug you had round the toilet in the 80s, decides to go for a ride on a security guard, in what is either the best or most terrifying five minutes of his life.
Dom comments that the queues for the beer tent are much smaller than when he was here on Thursday for The Strokes. Indeed, the atmosphere is very gentle. There's no lager laddy behaviour, just lots of twirling. When a man treads on my foot, he apologises
. I think we should probably get rid of straight men. Maybe we could keep a few, who pass a strict test, for reproductive and carrying heavy things purposes* but really, how much better would the world be with just women and gay men?
Kylie is fully covered up, dressed like the Red Queen
and her backing dancers look like sweets, wrapped up in bows and dots: an Alice in Wonderland/Nutcracker mash-up. Either that, or it's a few leftovers from a PSB live show, apt since Your Disco Needs You sounds like a rejected Neil Tenant song.
The pint sized pop princessTM
does all the hits, including a cover of Bette Davis Eyes, which is quite nice but a bit bland. Maybe this is the probs with Kyles; she's a consummate performer, but she's just too family-friendly. Despite the murder duets with Nick Cave, y'can't imagine her doing anything really avant-garde. She'll carry on ploughing the same rainbow field for some time to come, chucking out the odd cover version if her career dips.
*maybe the England cricket team too.