Tuesday 20th December 2011
BEAR with me, dear reader. This, like ancient Gaul, is divided into three parts. It’s what they now call a ‘docu-drama’. Any resemblance to real persons is purely intentional.
Nobody is quite sure of anything, the morning after.
It is like waking from a medieval night of revels: dazed, damp-blanketed, sore-boned, needing a pee:
“What have I done? Why am I here? Who is that?”
Makeshift tents, discarded placards, cathedral pillars, lines of police, a daybreak harmonica: Occupy the London Stock Exchange slowly gets to its feet, like a newborn calf.
“It feels like people have finally…” an elderly woman breathes out a long sigh, “…decided we’ve really had enough.”
“My name is Giles Fraser. All is fine and there’s a very calm atmosphere here. I’ve asked the police to move on and they have. The bad news for those sleeping is these bells are spectacularly loud!”
“I don’t really have any political leanings, it’s just that I care about my fellow human beings and here I’m caring in a very direct way. Oh, thank you, guys. I’ll get breakfast on in maybe half an hour.”
Gifts are placed in the manger: bread, water, vegetables, fruit.
They mill, campers and sightseers, photographers and mask-wearers, activists and onlookers. Donations are made at the Info Point; there’s talk of a library; medical personnel are among the first volunteers.
The calf stumbles on the barn-yard stone, hesitant, crooked of haunch, timid-eyed in the sunlight of autumn.
“Consensus is contentious. We want to build what a society should look like.”
Optimism attends the day’s assemblies: many hands waved in agreement with ground rules. It is chilly but dry on the stone steps. Barriers prevent access to Paternoster Square. The Latin means ‘our father’. A cardboard sign, taped to a concrete pillar, reads: Forgive Us Our Trespasses.
“Hippy scum!” shouts a stern passer-by. “Go get a fucking job!”
“We have one,” a girl whispers to her boyfriend. “It’s to make things better.”
Their held hands tighten, knowing love.