My shiny little online spot to help y'all keep track of me while I galavant around London.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I had a ridiculous morning yesterday, mostly because I'm a ridiculous person.

I woke up a bit uh, shall we say thirsty, after a few too many pints the night before. After chugging a glass of water, I went online — y'know, the usual facebooking, emailing, etc — and then saw a news headline that Obama was at Number 10 right now.

Leaping into action, I threw some clothes on, pulled my greasy hair into a pony tail, threw my camera into my bike bag, and hopped on my bike. Pedaling like a lunatic (well, one that needs to get somewhere fast), I was heaving by the time I crossed the river — Saturday was the hottest day of the year so far (hit a whole 29 degrees!) and I was still recovering from a cold and was well, hungover. Sweating like a retard, breathing with difficulty, I hit Trafalgar Square — but where to go? Should I go wait behind the gates of Number 10 by the park, and get a shot of him leaving, or round to the front/side of the Foreign Office on Whitehall?

I figured the doors by the park. He'd go in and out that way for sure. It's more photogenic. Right? He needs the shot of the '10' on the door.

I get there. No one's there. It's still a quarter to 11. He's probably still in there. So I wait. And wait. And wait. A few other people are standing around with cameras, but not many. And they eventually wander off. A Getty photographer goes and asks one family if there's anyone about with, y'know, placards. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be. Is this one more example of media trying to force an angle? Shouldn't the story be that no one turned out? I'm considering this, when I hear chanting.

Obama, O-Ba-Ma! Could it be? It's something else. Maybe it is tho! Maybe I'm in the wrong spot! Of course there must be other people, I'm an idiot! As if the Democratic party would let him have an event without rounding up their expat members! Argh! So stupid!!

So I hope on my bike, and pedal (frantically, again) around the corner to the Whitehall side. Oh, there's hundreds of people. Maybe a thousand! Chanting his name, and something like "We can Change!" or something. That sounds a bit odd to me, but this must be the place. These people have professional Obama signs — with logos and everything — they must know what they're doing.

I lean my bike against the metal rail barrier which is keeping the hordes back from the road our saviour is sure to come out on. A big black guy asks me, 'what's going on' and I tell him, 'Obama's in there.' He looks happily shocked and pulls out his phone to take photos. "Who would you vote for? I'd vote for him," he rambles, clearly very excited.

I decided I should get my camera out too, to be ready. I open my bike bag, jarring my bike against the rail. The handlebars slip through the top bit of the rail, and my helmet goes crashing over to the cement... on the other side of the barrier. Whoops. How do I get it back, without getting shot?

My Obama-loving new-friend Ken laughs, and we both try to get the attention of the police on the far side. They look right at us, and ignore us. A few people around us jokingly(?) suggest I chucked it over there to get closer to the chosen one when he passes, and I say yeah, I've always wanted to get shot in front of Obama...

We keep waving, and eventually one cop slowly... slowly... slowly meanders over. I've never seen anyone walk so slowly in my life. One step. Then another. Pause. Then another. Like dude, what if it were a bomb we were pointing at? (Maybe that's why he walks so slow...?)

He hands it back to me, and rather than chastize me for being a retard, says: "At least you wear one. Not enough people do." Then ambles back to his post.

Ken and I decide to get closer to the action. His camera phone isn't gonna get any good pictures from way back where we are. I leave my bike — unlocked, such is the feeling of comradeship and urgency here — leaning against a short balustrade on which tourists are standing.

People start cheering and chanting again — nope, not him; just some press with cameras. We quiet down. And then again; the door opens... but it's not him. This repeats several times over ten or so minutes. Oh the tension! The excitement! Thank god I left the empty area by 10 Downing Street! Look at what I was missing!

Directing my camera between two women's heads, I've got a clean line for a shot right at the door. It opens... and a series of dark SUVs with tinted windows speed out, make the turn, and jet past us. None slow. No wave of the hand out the window. Not even a honk. Nothing. Nothing.

The deflated crowd disperses quickly.

Still, I rationalise, I was part of something here. I saw how it really is, when the news shows footage of chanting adorers. How they wait for ages for just a glimpse of a shape through a darkened window.

Oh well. What did I expect, anyway? At least I saw something, right?

Cut to this morning. Flip onto Google News, and there's coverage of his London visit, including one headline reading: Passersby get a shock as Brown and Obama take a turn in the park

Wha?! They left from the main Downing Street doors where I was took a walk through the horse guards parade right by where I was and then wandered into Green Park right by where I was. Obama then gave a short press conference from the steps of Number 10 right where I had been waiting.

So, to sum: ARGH!!1!

I gotta stop second guessing myself.

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Anonymous Peter said...

You had your official, life imitates art, Rori Gilmore momemt.


Anonymous INNOCENTABULABUL said...

A bird at hand is better than two in the bush.



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