Friday, November 18, 2005

Up the Elephant and Round the Castle

So, what have I been doing for the last week or so?

Well, thanks for asking.

As it happens I spent most of my free time restoring my spacked-out PC. The laughs I had…

I fact I was so busy fixing my PC I missed out on this event just down the road…

£5 note give-away descends into chaos

A promotional stunt inviting the public to pluck a £5 note from a "money poster" descended into a frenzied stampede today as greedy Londoners grabbed handfuls of cash.

The give-away, to encourage investment in rundown Elephant and Castle, south London, was over in minutes as passers-by elbowed each other out of the way before walking off with pocketfuls of cash.

The money-grab, in which more than three hundred £5 notes were stuck to a billboard on Walworth Road, began with an orderly queue as organisers tried to ensure only one note per person.

But within minutes the true character of the locals appeared, with around 25 people pulling down as much as they could lay their hands on.

As a friend said ‘Ha, madness. They could never have predicted that.’

Or as another said ‘I believe in the essential goodness of mankind. What a heart warming and life affirming little tale...’

Presumably in response to this quote from the news story…

"But then I saw some other people at the other end of the poster just grabbing as much as they could so I ran round and started filling my pockets.

"My ten-year-old son Kevin managed to get quite a lot of money from the top of the poster by sitting on my shoulders. This has been a great day."

To be honest, even if I knew what was going on my camera’s fastest shutter speed is only 1/4000 second, so the photographs would have been pretty blurred.

Admittedly, a certain degree of chaos would have been expected in any part of the world but to pull a stunt like that at the Elephant and Castle of all places. Why not go the whole hog and do it at night in a dimly lit street. Better yet, wait until the much predicted global pandemic gets under way and pin a few hundred doses of Tamiflu up on a wall somewhere and maybe lay some razor wire and man traps out in front of it. The concept of offering free stuff people desperately need, positioned so that they have to jostle and fight for it in a public place is a winning one whose time has definitely come.

It’s a firmly held belief of mine that there are a shit load of people out there, mostly middle class, who have absolutely no conception of the reality of life in our inner cities. How else can you explain some Muppet coming up with the idea of pinning free fivers up on the Walworth Road and expecting people to wait patiently in line for them? For fuck’s sake…

Or maybe I’m too jaded. Maybe I’ve lived in London for too long. A couple of weeks ago we were strolling in Oban, up in Scotland, on a Saturday evening and I saw a distressed child inside a car desperately banging on the car window screaming ‘Help me! Please help me!’. I started towards the car. A shifty looking man moved between me and the child, blocking my path, and glared at me. For a moment, I considered twatting him and sized up the most effective way of going about it.

Then he turned around and opened the car door and the kid said

Thank you daddy’

There’s a moral to that tale somewhere


BigFrank said...

Yeah, I'll tell you what the moral is. People suck. The whole human race is spinning 'round inside a flushing toilet.

David said...

I've finally been persuaded to get a digital camera, going to look this week- watch out for some competition! (or adding to the pool of talent). I remember you recommended either 2 or 4 megapixels for decent quality, and would prefer to spend two figures rather than three. Let me know if you have any tips, thanks.

Daniel said...

Ha! I've been round there doing some research in the IWM the people round E&C are a pretty insalubrious bunch.

Stef said...

Big Frank - come on, that's the moral to any story

David - I'll stand by the 4mp recommendation unless you're planning to produce gallery prints.

Tips include

- 4mp enough resolution
- look for a camera that takes AA rechargeables rather than makers' own battery formats
- budget on another £30 for an extra memory card

If you don't mind buying end of line and reconditioned stuff Morgans are always worth keeping an eye on