Images from the March for a People’s Vote – being heard in one way or another

I went to the Brexit March yesterday which was a rally for a People’s Vote calling for another EU referendum. I went on my own, but with the intention of hooking up with some musician friends who were meeting with other samba school percussionists near the Apollo statue in Hyde Park. Compared to most of the demonstrators I was completely unprepared except for some tissues in my pocket, a bottle of water in my backpack and my lightweight Olympus camera rather than my heavier Fuji. This turned out to be a godsend as not only did I manage to meet with up with the percussionists but I was kindly lent a tambourine-like drum and stick which I started playing at 12.30 and continued to do so for nearly 4 hours continuously, when we finally arrived in Trafalgar Square. I don’t think I could have lasted that long with a heavier camera; plus the tissues came in handy as I tore a bit off to fashion some ear plugs so as not to damage my hearing! I used to be a member of The London School of Samba decades ago and am familiar with some of the drum patterns and sequences so got the hang of things pretty quickly.

In between playing I managed to take a few images. I really liked looking behind me and seeing these determined, powerful women striking out beats and shaking shakers:


Brazilian shakers being played at the march for a people's vote on Brexit

I came home aching from marching and playing a tiny percussion instrument – I can only imagine how this strong, focussed female Surdo drummer felt!

Yet there is something very empowering about about drumming out a beat – it is another form of having a voice. And  I found the combination of drumming and chanting in unison incredibly therapeutic – I felt I was expressing myself and that, at least, was something in these frustrating and bewildering Brexit fiasco days.

I’ve featured photographs of creative placards and signs before, particularly in my blog post on the 2017 Women’s March in London. There has been quite a bit of press and media coverage on witty placards from yesterday’s march so I thought I’d show a different example of voicing one’s opinion through words and text. Here’s one from yesterday; the grimy back doors of this van is full of finger written anti-Brexit commentary:

And a sticker I noticed at a bus stop the previous day revealing the binary divide opinion in the country; the sticker says BIN Brexit It’s not too late and has been defaced to say Brexit NOW:

Careful with our future – kids looking down at the march from their vantage point of a construction site:

Some discarded signs at the end of the march – the message STOP STEALING OUR FUTURE was a recurrent theme of the march:

Personal style can be another form of self -expression and next are a couple of photographs of people that caught my attention. This man was playing in the row in front of me some of the time and I liked the combination of the dramatic feathers on his top heat with his serpentine dreadlocks . His red scarf has the word LOVE repeated as all-over print.

Funnily enough I had spotted the man below whilst on the march but we must have taken a similar route out of it once it finished as here he is again in Chinatown. One of the reasons I’d noticed him was his customised red beret with yellow stars – most of the EU berets sported by punters were in the colours of the European flag – blue with yellow stars. The red and yellow lanterns coincidentally coordinate with his beret:

Dramatic make up and trendy ornate hair clip:

We finally reach Trafalgar Square in the late afternoon. The view is dominated by a grotesque effigy of Theresa May with a Pinocchio Brexit nose, and in the foreground an agogo bell percussionist:

Below a surdo drummer giving it large. It was a good feeling to march. It was a good feeling to drum. Here’s to having a voice – let’s hope we are listened to.

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