Thursday, 25 February 2010

Guardian comment piece on Drones

Apologies for delay in moderating comments and posting, had minor tech problems. Wanted to post a link to this comment piece I published in The Guardian earlier this week, about Drones coming to Britain. It was partly sparked off by discussions following recent talks and chat on the blog.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Drones come to London

Great event with Michael Rosen on Thursday night, at Bishopsgate Institute, a beautiful, unexpected Victorian hall opposite the starkly demarcated Broadgate Centre. Put on by Newham Books the event pulled in lots of people from nearby Dalston, and local groups Southwark Cyclists and 'Space Hi-jackers', who lightly disrupt the regimen in privatised places by towing in an enormous banner, proclaiming the banning of photographs and the usual. Keep feeling surprised that every time I'm asked if policymakers have responded to the messages in 'Ground Control' I find myself praising Boris's Manifesto for Public Space, which states that streets and public places in London must stay under local authority control.

Unfortunately I fear that has come too late for Stratford City which is shaping up to be a scarily high security zone. When I give talks about the book I mention the Drones - Unmanned Aerial Vehicles used in Iraq - which now fly over parts of Liverpool and are set to patrol over Stratford City. After a talk the other day someone in the audience told me she had attended an Olympics reception where the Drones had a demonstration stand! So, not only are they certain to fly over London, they're clearly seen as something to be proud of.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Rowan Williams, MI6 and Shell...

Silence on the blog front because I’ve been on a two week residency at the Southbank centre, with a group of artists, film makers, musicians and writers. Highlights included lunch with the Archbishop of Canterbury, a briefing with a top bod from MI6 and a tour of the Shell building. The visits were organised by Jeremy Deller, the artist who suggested a burnt out car from Iraq for the fourth plinth. He’s interested in mapping power. As to the least powerful, we also went to Kids Company, the children’s charity run by Camila Batmanghelidjh, who is a phenomenon. I’m not sure what will come out of it, though I’ll certainly be writing about Kids Company again. And certainly memorable to have the Archbishop define god for us.