While Tyrants Sleep: Canary Wharf at Night, a set on Flickr.
On November 14, 2012, as I explained in my previous photo set, “Curious Insomnia: A Journey through Deptford and Millwall to Canary Wharf at Night,” I decided, at 1am, to cycle from my home in Brockley, in south east London, down through Deptford and Greenwich, and through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel to the Isle of Dogs, where I cycled through Millwall, via the former docks and South Quay Plaza (and the DLR station) to Canary Wharf, the multi-towered financial centre and underground shopping complex that has been sucking the lifeblood out of the rest of London since it overcame its early wobbles under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and became a magnet for dodgy unregulated bankers and obsessive materialists during the reign of Tony Blair.
It is, in fact, a place which, as Owen Hatherley explained in an excellent article for the Guardian last year (which I also drew on here), is responsible for “the most spectacular expression of London’s transformation into a city with levels of inequality that previous generations liked to think they’d fought a war to eliminate.” Read the rest of this entry »
At 1 am on November 14, 2012, I decided to take a late night bike ride to Canary Wharf, the modern mutant offspring of the City of London. The City is an ancient lawless zone, but it is now rivalled by the lawlessness of the Docklands project initiated under Margaret Thatcher, which expanded hugely under Tony Blair.
Canary Wharf, which I first photographed here, fascinates and repels me. Its towers, with their horribly ostentatious show of wealth, and their disdain for even vaguely concealing how much money can be made through devious behaviour that ought to be illegal — and in many cases is — are visible from almost everywhere, and are particularly dominant from all over south east London, where I live. However, while the buildings are, in some ways, architecturally impressive, that is not all that calls out across the miles when One Canada Square and its phallic companions are glimpsed from afar. The wealth they display is also meant to intimidate and/or dazzle those mere mortals — the majority of us, in other words — who earn in a lifetime what well-paid bankers take home in a year.
I’ll be analysing Canary Wharf further in the article following this one, which features the photos I took in the heart of Canary Wharf. In contrast, this set features the start of my journey, through Deptford and Greenwich, including Deptford High Street, which stands in total contrast to the wealth and rarefied shopping malls of Canary Wharf (which I photographed here). I then cycled through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, and took photos in Millwall, and also of Millwall Inner Dock, South Quay DLR station and the mainly residential developments around them, including the Pan Peninsula towers, luxury high-rises that deliberately scorn the ordinary humans below, with their promotional material celebrating those who “inhabit a private universe.”
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed — and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr (my photos) and YouTube. Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
In the Belly of the Beast: A Walk through Lower Manhattan, a set on Flickr.
Regular readers will recall that, last month, I visited the US to campaign for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay on the 11th anniversary of its opening, taking part in events in Washington D.C. and McLean, Virginia from January 10 to 12, and in New York on January 13, which I made available in photo sets here, here and here. An archive of various articles relating to my visit — and videos of my appearances — can be found here.
However, as I explained in an article two weeks ago, An Englishman in New York: Photos of a Walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan, I actually arrived in New York on the evening of January 7, and didn’t leave until the evening of January 16, so I had plenty of time to wander around the city — and specifically Manhattan and Brooklyn, the former because, of course, it draws the visitor like an irresistible magnet, and because I had appointments there with various friends and colleagues: with Debra Sweet of the World Can’t Wait, with various friends and associates at the Center for Constitutional Rights, with the dancer and activist Nancy Vining Van Ness, and with the journalist and researcher Anand Gopal, as well as my rendezvous for a panel discussion at Revolution Books on January 13 with the Guantánamo attorney Ramzi Kassem, who represents Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, after which a big group of World Can’t Wait supporters went out for dinner before I ended up down an alley in Chinatown being filmed for a forthcoming documentary. Read the rest of this entry »
An Englishman in New York: A Walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan, a set on Flickr.
Last month, when I visited the US to campaign for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay on the 11th anniversary of its opening, I took part in events in Washington D.C. and McLean, Virginia from January 10 to 12, and in New York on January 13, which I made available in photo sets here, here and here. An archive of various articles relating to my visit — and videos of my appearances — can be found here.
However, I arrived in New York on the evening of January 7, and didn’t leave until the evening of January 16, so I had plenty of time to wander around New York — specifically Manhattan and Brooklyn, where I was staying with my friend, the secretive blogger known as The Talking Dog, and his family. The ‘Dog has been my friend since September 2007, when we first met over the phone, as he interviewed me for his excellent ongoing series of interviews with people involved with the Guantánamo story, just after the publication of my book The Guantánamo Files, and I first visited him and stayed with him in March 2008, during my first ever visit to America. Read the rest of this entry »
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