Saturday night: Pull up Guardian website on laptop and see ‘Riots in Tottenham’ or some such headline. First time I hear about Mark Duggan, protest marches or social unrest in the capital. Not sure how I missed it. Papers focus on the gun, the bullet lodged in the radio, the gang-links-or-family-man? angle.
Meet friends on Sunday: Three days after the shooting happened and none of us has seen a report yet that says Duggan shot anyone, or indeed that it was his gun. Already it sounds like a mess. Hackney riots. Watch buildings and cars burn on the news for a couple of hours.
Monday: Work as per normal, riots have spread across the country. Cameron and Boris racing to be the first back from holiday. All quiet all evening until about 11.30 when youts trash a pizza delivery bike and dump it in the middle of the street. We and everyone else watch from our windows as groups of kids in tracksuits gather and holler at each other. Rubbish is scattered across the road and cars and buses weave their way through slowly. A police van screams up and everyone scatters. Four riot police disappear down a side street. A couple more police cars and a fire engine appear and disappear quickly. It’s all taken about twenty minutes to unfold. In the morning the street is clean and everything looks normal.
Tuesday: Broom picture of Clapham clean up gets tweeted and goes viral. Video of injured kid being mugged gets tweeted and goes viral. Both appear on the evening news. Shops leave shutters up throughout the day, some close early. I leave work early after hearing about looters at the Sainsbury’s near my flat, but when I emerge from the tube station it seems it’s a lot of Twitter bollocks. Tube is busy, everyone seems to be heading home early. Sense of tension in the air all day, news reports and anticipation and unease combine. All that build up and no follow though, not in London anyway. Streets are quiet all night.
Wednesday morning: Get in to work early, write this post. Will see what happens tonight.