Thursday, May 31, 2007

Raging Ravers

Our latest policing round-up features the oldest rave prosecution we have found to date...

England: '63-year-old faces ASBO rave ban' (EDP 24, 26 May 2007)

'A 63-year-old man was made the subject of an interim anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) by Yarmouth magistrates yesterday preventing him from either organising or participating in illegal raves.The joint application against Christopher Farrow, of Hitchin, was made by North Norfolk District Council and Norfolk police.The application came in the wake of a rave that took place at Horsey Gap, owned by the National Trust, over the weekend of May 5-7 involving about 1,000 people'.

England: 'Raging Ravers trash cop car' (Sun, 14 May 2007)

'Rampaging partygoers at an illegal rave are being hunted by cops after a police car was “trashed” on an aristocrat's land. The car was attacked on land owned by Conservative peer Lord Marlesford, weeks after the 75-year-old asked Home Office ministers a parliamentary question about policy on policing raves. Around 500 revellers are thought to have gathered on a former airfield at the weekend. Police say no officers were hurt as a result of the attack on the car at Parham, Suffolk, early on Sunday'.

India: Ministry of Sound in Delhi (Times of India, 14 May 2007)

'The party had just begun to rock on Friday night when the Delhi police suddenly entered Ministry of Sound, a swank disc in South Delhi at around 8 pm and asked the owners to down the shutters by 10 pm. The owners argued with the police, saying they had all the pre-requisite licenses and papers. They kept the party going. However, after 12, the cops came again, this time armed with a challan for operating a disc after 12. They asked the partying crowd to leave the premises, went to the bar and asked the tenders to close it. The police also barricaded both the entries... Later, the Delhi Police spokesperson told us, "The action was initiated because of constant complaints from people living in the neighbouring areas. There were also violating some licensing rules"... But all this has only left the people who had come to party at MoS that night puzzled. Like Bir, who'd come with a friend. "This is ridiculous. Why are the cops here? And why are they asking us to leave?" he asked. Echoed Rahul, "This is just not done. We look forward to Friday night parties, and this is what you get.'

USA: Long Island Drug Raid (Long Island Press, 29 May 2007)

'East Quogue’s Neptune Beach Club, located on Dune Road, found itself in a drug scandal involving 15 individuals this past weekend. Southampton Town Police Street Crime Unit reports that of the fifteen arrested, six were from various towns on Long Island. At the popular nightclub, an undercover police officer bought Ecstasy twice from three different people and arrested the three on felony charges on Monday. The other twelve allegedly possessed and/or ingested Ecstasy; cocaine; Vicodin; ketamine; GHB; anabolic steroids; marijuana; Percocet; drug scales; and packaging materials in the Tiana Beach parking lot... People other than the fifteen were arrested for urinating and consuming alcohol in public as well as littering'.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Repeat after me: Fuck Queen and Country

30 years ago this week the Sex Pistols released God Save the Queen as royalists prepared to celebrate the Queen's Silver Jubilee. The anniversary has prompted some nostalgia for a period when a song could have such a power to shock. In an interesting interview, Simon Reynolds remarks "The myth of the song seems to be the truth about it. It was one of the last times, possibly the last time, that a song could send shockwaves through an entire society. It was an injection of energy and conviction that took almost a decade to dissipate. "

Some of the people involved in this fine act of cultural terrorism have been backtracking ever since - Vivienne Westwood becoming a Dame of the British Empire, Steve Jones hanging out with Cliff Richard... so it is important to recall what an outrageous gesture it was, and the reaction it provoked - including arrests on the river Thames during the Pistols' Silver Jubilee boat party. Les Back suggests that 'The thing that remains disruptive about God Save the Queen is that it insisted that England was/is in a state of soporific stupor. There could be no escape beyond the nostalgia in which the past is eternally replayed in the waking somnolence of nationalism'. The virulence of the lyrics have never been surpassed in a hit record in the UK: "God save the queen, She ain't no human being, There is no future In England's dreaming... When there's no future How can there be sin, We're the flowers in the dustbin, We're the poison in the human machine, We're the future Your future" (see the video here).

Subsequent anti-monarchist efforts have lacked the same impact only because the Pistols broke the taboo, in the process undermining the symbolic power of the royal brand. Still the final nail is yet to be banged in the feudal coffin, with Queen Elizabeth II 55 years on the throne next week. There's still space for some more republican efforts, so let's give an honorable mention to The Stone Roses' four line classic Elizabeth My Dear: 'Tear me apart and boil my bones, I'll not rest till she's lost her throne, My aim is true my message is clear, It's curtains for you, Elizabeth my dear'; to The Smiths' The Queen is Dead: 'Her very Lowness with a head in a sling, I'm truly sorry - but it sounds like a wonderful thing', and to The Manic Street Preachers' Repeat: 'Useless generation, Dumb flag scum, Repeat after me, Fuck queen and country". Or maybe even Shelley's England in 1819: "Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow Through public scorn, mud from a muddy spring, Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know, But leech-like to their fainting country cling".

Related posts: See also: Funk the Wedding 1981; We live to tread on Kings

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Almost Dancing at Tate Modern

Lots of interesting music-related activity going on at Tate Modern in London as part of its Long Weekend. Throbbing Gristle were playing last night in memory of Derek Jarman, performing while showing some of his Super-8 films. There have also been showings of Andy Warhol and Maya Deren films with accompanying musical performances from the likes of Michael Nyman and Ikue Mori.

I went along yesterday afternoon to check out the Turbine Hall where French artist Mathieu Briand had created a sound installation: SYS*011. Mie>AbE/SoS\ SYS*010, also known as the Spiral. Among other things this included five decks and a vinyl-cut machine, while around the gallery a crowd of people in masks wandered around, choreographed by Prue Lang.

I was most interested in the musical performances. I managed to catch Charlie Dark (of Blacktronica and 'broken beat' fame, pictured) who did a great track built up around some dub poetry (was it from Linton Kwesi Johnson's Five Nights of Bleeding?). The Bug, with Spaceape, dropped a bit of The Specials while Radio Active Man (Keith Tenniswood of Two Lone Swordsmen) played a set of techno and breaks. In the cavernous Turbine Hall it all sounded like a warehouse party, the music setting of various vibrations around the space. All that was missing were people really dancing. Lots of people, sitting and standing, were nodding heads, tapping feet, swaying around and some people (me included) were dancing a bit but in a hesitant, restrained kind of way. It was if the conventions of the gallery and maybe time of day were holding people back, but it felt like there was a tension waiting to snap, as if a few people jumping on a podium and really letting go would trigger an explosion of movement. But I wasn't going to put myself out there as the detonator!


Friday, May 25, 2007

Dancing Questionnaire 4: Sonic Truth

Our latest dancing questionnaire comes courtesy of Muz from Sonic Truth and Whorecull.

Can you remember your first experience of dancing?
Aside from school-era disco and slow dances and the occasional breakdancing burn (we had our own ‘crew’ but were really too young to be serious), the first moment to stay in the memory is of someone’s birthday party in a village hall nr Farnham, Surrey, where I went to school. It was standard fare until the two Inner City tracks of the time – Big Fun and Good Life – were aired and enjoyed so much that they were, er, rewound several times. All the rave-like expressive hand and arm motions were employed.

What’s the most interesting/significant thing that has happened to you while out dancing?
Nothing really stands out other than the usual catalogue of uncanny-then but sketchy-now moments. I’ve always been someone to get 'locked into' the dance, riding the ebb and flow, and no doubt critiquing the dj’s performance in my head, a complement to the whoops and come-ons around me. I’m also someone who instinctively migrates to the back of the dance rather than the front.

What’s the best place you’ve ever danced in?
Probably the Glastonbury car park at dawn with my mates in 2000. After three heavy nights with my mates, set and setting combined and Squarepusher never sounded more appropriate.

You. Dancing. The best of times…
Never really found a parallel to the hardcore scene for a year and a half from 1991-92. Not every event can be characterised by brilliant highs, but the expectation building up to events and the buzz at them are hard to recapture, not least because I would never have that youthful zeal again. In fact, I was known to dance so enthusiastically during these times that one or two associates were known to take the piss out of my full-cycle motions!

Ironically, the best collective moment through dancing was not music-related as such, but came when I was celebrating my team City get promoted in 2000. The outside lobby of the central Manchester hotel the players were at was a sea of blues, dancing and chanting to a City mantra until it was genuinely ‘tribal’ in nature, disconnected from place or time. Sean ‘Feed the’ Goater came and saw us and it was all good thereafter. Like carnival but more extreme.

You. Dancing. The worst of times…Any time where circumstances and habits compel you to drink too much before the main club action, or when someone says something at the wrong time, exploding paranoia and putting me right off the rhythm. It’s happened a few times.

Can you give a quick tour of the different dancing scenes/times/places you’ve frequented?
Though I’d been listening to rave pretty much since it went overground, the first serious dancing was via the aforementioned hardcore rave scene. During this time, there would also be the occasional mosh-out to whatever noise-rock we liked that week. One of my mates once ended up in first aid due to getting caught up in the moshpit at a Ride gig at the Kentish Town T&C; I ended up in Dorset.

The rave places included sanitised home counties venues like the Park Prewett Mental Hospital in Basingstoke, Farnborough Recreation Centre, Reading Rivermead Centre, as well as in lots of fields round Surrey or Hampshire and London venues such as Labryinth, the Lazerdrome in Peckham and the Tasco Warehouse in Plumstead. Nights included Evolution, Yikes!, Zen, Desire, Innersense and loads more cheesy-sounding names.

From late 1992 I went to Leeds university, and there was a self-imposed hiatus from the harder side of dance music where narcotics might be required. It was broken only by acid jazz/latin/funk nights, where I learned to express myself in different ways with alcohol as an accompaniment, or the occasional house/techno shindig in one of the city’s “clubs of the year” (Vague, @ the Warehouse, Back to Basics/Up Yer Ronson at the Music Factory, the Orbit in Morley).

On return from Leeds, there was another lull as Britpop dominated before I moved to London in late 1996, where eventually there were enough connections to start going out dancing again, mainly to ‘deep’ house (Rob Mello, Kenny Hawkes and co), jungle (in a scene increasingly ruled by techsteppers like Ed Rush) and electro, with the occasional hip-hop gig. During these times up to the commitment of raising a family last year, I probably got closest to where my mind needed to be for continued dancing, rather than hanging around jerking on the periphery. The house scene around London was the mainstay, at nights like Wednesday’s Space @ Bar Rhumba and Derrick Carter’s bimonthlies at the End, with the occasional label-related do in warehouses around Hackney. That contributed a lot to the more digital/synthy side of house now. Also, all my flatshares had decks as the main entertainment focus so there could be long nights dancing at home.

When and where did you last dance?
At the party after the screening of the McClintock Factor.

You’re on your death bed. What piece of music would make your leap up for one final dance?
Too many to mention – so I’ll pick a few faves from some of the highlighted genres. Derrick May/It is What it Is; Joey Beltram/Energy Flash; Nookie/Love Is; DJ Krust/Warhead; Gang Starr/Dwyck; Technasia/Technasia; Isolee – Beau Mot Plage/, etc, etc.

Desire flyer reproduced from the amazing collection at Hardcore U Know the Score

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Police Powers to Close Clubs?

From today's Guardian, a parting gift from Tony Blair:

'Civil liberties and homelessness campaigners last night sharply criticised plans to give the police powers to "shut and seal" all premises, including flats, pubs and clubs, generating yobbish behaviour. The home secretary, John Reid, announced at the Police Federation conference in Blackpool yesterday that the powers would form part of a criminal justice bill to be introduced in the next few weeks, before Tony Blair leaves Downing Street.... He said he wanted to extend police powers - rules allowing the temporary closure of crack houses, which have been used more than 500 times since their introduction in 2004 - to "all premises generating yobbish behaviour".

The powers of police to close premises where Class A drugs (not just Crack) are alleged to be used, produced or sold, were included in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. The precedent set by this act is that the police do not actually have to prove through convicting somebody of a drug offence that the premises are being used in the way alleged. The Act specifically states: 'It is immaterial whether any person has been convicted of an offence relating to the use, production or supply of a controlled drug'. A similar low burden of proof for 'yobbish behaviour' could certainly be used by hostile police to close squats or clubs without having to actually to go through the trouble of convicting anybody of any offence.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Comanche Sun Dance

In desparate times, millennarian movements have arisen in which people hoped to be liberated from their oppression by a sudden magical transformation, perhaps sparked by the return of the ancestors or divine intervention. In many of these movements communal dancing and festivities have played a key role, what Bryan Wilson in his study Magic and the Millennium called 'efforts to dance into being the new dispensation' - a party to bring on the end of the world, or at least turn it upside down. One such episode arose on the South Plains of the United States in the 1870s:

'the Comanches... way of life was under severe threat in the 1870s, when the buffalo herds were fast diminishing, when Ishatai ('Coyote Droppings'), a young warrior medicine-man, who had 'proved' his own immunity to bullets and had 'raised the dead", arose in 1873. The Comanches had resisted confinement in the reserva­tion at Fort Sill...

Ishatai claimed to have communed with the Great Spirit, and he successfully predicted the appearance of a comet, to be followed by a long summer drought. He succeeded in gathering all the Comanches together—a feat which the great chiefs had never been able to do in the past—to perform the Sun Dance, in which all but one band, the Swift Stingers, joined. This was a wholly new venture for the Comanches, although they had watched the Kiowa sun dances and those of the Cheyenne for many years. A buffalo herd was captured, and a buffalo was killed, stuffed, and mounted on a pole. Mud-men clowns (imitated from clowns seen among the Pueblos) provided 'a light hearted gesture in an act of desperation—the inauguration of the Sun Dance for the earthly salvation of the Comanche way of life'.

A mock battle was fought, and the people danced in bands for five days before the sun dancers themselves danced, drummed, and sang for three further days, doing without food and water for the duration of the dance. Ishatai had promised that he would share his immunity with others, and that they should drive the whites from the land and restore the old way of life. But in the action they mounted against a post at Adobe Wells, soon afterwards, nine Comanches were killed. Ishatai lost his power, and the Comanches, their spirit broken, entered the reservation in 1875.

Source: Bryan Wilson, Magic and the Millennium (London: Heinemann, 1973). Picture is of a Sun Dance amongst the Ponca people

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Indie Pop

Back once again last week to How Does it Feel? in Brixton, the guest DJ this time Amelia Fletcher, indie pop stalwart of Talulah Gosh in the 1980s and subsequently of Heavenly, Marine Research and lately Tender Trap.

Amelia played a set consisting entirely of female-fronted sounds from the Shangri-Las to Stereolab via Le Tigre and Bis. As on previous visits, I was full of wonder that there's a dancefloor in South London full of people of various ages dancing to this stuff. In fact there's a little scene of places like this, including Spiral Scratch in London. There are also plenty of new indie pop bands, not all of them from Scandinavia!

I enjoyed the Indie Pop explosion in the mid-1980s, associated forever with the free C86 cassette compilation given away with NME but actually much more interesting than that. I was in recovery from a period of black-clad anarcho-punkdom so it was great to be able to go to places like the Camden Falcon in a paisley shirt and sate my taste for melody with the likes of The Razorcuts, Jasmine Minks and Revolving Paint Dream. There was anyway a punky aspect to the whole scene, not so much in the music but in the DIY attitude. In the sleeve notes to the Rough Trade Shop's excellent indiepop 1 compilation, Matt Haynes (then of Sarah Records, now editor of Smoke magazine) recalls: 'everywhere you looked... people were doing things: writing letters, editing fanzines, inventing bands, compiling cassettes, setting-up record labels, plotting revolutions'.

There was also a wilful musical amateurishness which Talulah Gosh embodied, not to mention a 'twee' critique of gender that created animosity from rock boys everywhere. Haynes again: 'It's easy to forget how revolutionary this was - women being part of the motor rather than just the decoration on the bonnet. Or to forget how much genuine hatred and loathing Talulah Gosh inspired. And how much fun it was watching people trip up in their unconscious equating of femininity with inconsequentiality'.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What do they know of music who only music know?

Democracy and Hip Hop is an interesting project, with informed critical thinking of hip hop culture starting from the position that 'Hip-hop is an inherently democratic organism. Anyone, regardless of race, age, gender, location, or economic status is able to participate within it and to offer it new dimension. This is evidenced by the fact that hip-hop is not only a national, but a worldwide phenomenon and has literally left no country, race, or social group untouched.In addition to hip-hop’s global existence, it is also breaking down traditional categories of identity, whether of race or nationality, and of what people can become".

D&HH avows its key influence to be CLR James (1901-1989, pictured), the Trinidad-born radical intellectual. James developed an open-ended Marxism based on the principle of self-activity rather than top-down party politics. His interest in popular culture is best shown in his celebrated book on cricket, Beyond a Boundary. While he wrote little specifically about music and dancing, his insights are certainly relevant here. His famous quote 'What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?' could equally apply to music. After a period in the States, James settled in his later years in Brixton, where he was a big influence on the Race Today Collective - including dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson.

Dancing: the test of anti-racist politics

In a 1949 article, Road Ahead in Negro Struggle (in this period 'Negro' tended to be used by radicals, 'black' was seen as being a racist term), James quoted approvingly from a 1930s steel union organiser's report: “... held a couple of bingo games and a dance all of which Negroes attended in force with their ladies. At the dance, held in the lower section of the city near the Negro district, there were no restrictions. Dancing was mixed, racially and sexually, Whites with Negro partners. I danced with a Negro girl myself. Negroes enjoyed themselves immensely and there were no kicks from the whites. This lodge will soon have a picnic which will also be mixed.”


From a similar political background, Charles Denby wrote of his experiences in the car factories of Detroit before the second world war: 'The union was giving a social at the Eastwood Gardens Ballroom... One of the Negro women asked me if it was a dance where the Negroes would dance on one side and the whites on the other. The Negro women said they had heard white women saying that they'd be dancing separate from the Negroes... The union called a special meeting and about one hundred workers attended. Ray [the union organizer] spoke: "If whites and Negroes want to dance together at the social they will dance. And my wife will dance with whomever she chooses. Those who don't want to see this don't have to come." I went to the social and he introduced me to his wife and said if we wanted to dance to go ahead. We danced one or two dances. Some mixed couples were dancing but the majority of whites danced to themselves' (Denby, Indignant Heart: A Black Worker's Journal, Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1979).

Denby later left the US Socialist Workers Party because they tolerated members who opposed black members going out with white women, and again noted that that at their social dances 'The whites crowded around on one side of the hall and talked among themselves'. For black radicals like James and Denby, dancing was a key test of how serious a movement was in confronting inequality. Writing in a period when black and white workers (men and women) were moving North from the segregated Southern states to work alongside each other in factories, both saw the potential for new forms of non-racist organisation and sociability. Both too were aware that organisations that encouraged black people to join but put up barriers on the dancefloor were not to be trusted.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Acoustic Tuning

An excellent line up at the Festival Hall on London's South Bank last Monday, with Bert Jansch, human beatbox Schlomo, Sonic Boom (who covered Kraftwerk's Hall of Mirrors) and Saint Etienne (pictured). Sarah Cracknell of the latter also sang a jazz arrangement of St E's Side Streets with the Tom Cawley Trio, and there was a 'Saint Etienne Quartet' folk version of the normally electronic Like a Motorway. I missed Billy Childish unfortunately.

The premise of the event was 'Acoustic Tuning', with the Festival Hall (built in 1951) having undergone an extensive refurbishment, partly to improve its sound qualities. The musical diversity of the programme was designed to 'fine tune the acoustic settings of the auditorium' and the audeince was asked to complete a questionnaire with prompts like 'Do you hear the sounds of each instrument clearly and without colouration or distortion?' For once the invisible musical instrument - the space in which music is performed - was foregrounded. And yes, it did all sound great.

The hall opens properly next month, with a film launch on 29th June of This is Tomorrow, tracing the history of the venue with Saint Etienne performing the soundtrack live.

Vauxhall, Vietnam and other Parties

Last weekend saw hundreds of police on the dancefloor from Vauxhall to Vietnam…

1000+ arrests at Vietnam nightclub

More than 500 police raided Ha Noi’s New Century nightclub in the wee hours of Saturday morning, seizing a large amount of illegal narcotics, from amphetamines to heroin, and detaining around 1,160 people for drug testing. Police also caught couples having sex on the premises and found used condoms. Of the first 600 persons tested for drugs, 15 per cent were positive. By Saturday afternoon, more than 1,100 had been released while others remained in custody for further investigation, including New Century’s manager, Nguyen Dai Duong, and four women accused of drug-related offences. New Century, one of the most well-known nightclubs and discos in the northern region, has been in business for eight years. (Vietnam News , 2nd May 2007)

South London Gay club closed

"The Fire gay nightclub has been temporarily closed following a raid by Lambeth police in the early hours of Saturday morning. Witnesses claim hundreds of police were involved in the raid. Nine people were arrested in the raid that followed a three month long intelligence led operation into Class A drugs- codenamed Pivot. Officers armed with a search warrant raided the club in Vauxhall at 2:15 am on Saturday. Suspects are being held in a central London police station. The club which hosts A:M (taking place during the raid), Orange, Juicy and Rudeboyz has been temporarily shut down under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Supersluth wrote on DiscoDamaged (a clubbing blog), "The lights came on at 2am. We were then lined in in groups of 3 in the car park - had our pictures taken in the glory of spot lights jacked up on police vans, sniffer dogs have a good nose around our legs and escorted out onto the road where there were literally hundreds of police lining the closed off roads and railway bridge." (Pink News, 28th April 2007, Film footage here).

Bedfordshire party shut down

As many as 200 ravers found their illegal party short-lived in Caddington when police told them to go home. The revellers had set up a sound system at the Chaul End reservoir, Caddington, on Friday night but officers were soon on the site to kick them off after a neighbour's complaint. Police issued a section 63 notice under the Criminal Justice and Public Order act threatening to remove the expensive music equipment before the crowd dispersed (Luton Today, 2nd May 2007)

Squat party at Streatham Megabowl

Squatters used a derelict bowling alley to host an illegal rave last Saturday night. They entered the boarded up Megabowl building in Streatham Hill, south London, through a side door and revellers were charged £5 each to go in. Police were called out in the early hours of Sunday morning after complaints from residents. A spokesman said the squatters would be taken to court and should be evicted from the premises by the end of the week. The two-storey building, which closed in August, is earmarked for part of a new shopping mall and housing development stretching (This is Hertfordshire, 28 April 2007).

OK so it gets a bit tedious simply cataloguing police raids on clubs and parties across the world, but we’ll stick with it because it is interesting to identify patterns and differences, and the various reasons for turning off the music and turning on the sirens. Analysis to follow (one day...)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Islamism vs. Dance

Earlier this week, five people were found guilty of plotting bomb attacks in the London area. One of the convicted had apparently been heard to talk of the Ministry of Sound as a potential target, saying: "No one can turn around and say, 'Oh, they were innocent', those slags dancing around. Do you understand what I mean?".

No evidence was presented that there was a definite plan to attack the South London club - the comment might have expressed a fantasy - but it does indicate a misogyny and hostility to dancing that is common in radical Islamism (but by no means in Muslim cultures more generally). In this it shares with other fundamentalist forms of religion, including Christian variants, a profound hatred of the female body in pleasurable motion.

For instance Hasan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1920s, proposed in relation to women: "a campaign against ostentation in dress and loose behavior... private meetings between men and women, unless within the permitted degrees of relationship, to be counted as a crime for which both will be censured ... the closure of morally undesirable ballrooms and dance-halls, and the prohibition of dancing and other such pastimes...".


Beyoncé Knowles, freedom fighter notes how this conflict between Islamism and dance is playing out across the world, quoting for instance the case of Indonesia where 'a 24-year-old singer from East Java named Inul Daratista (pictured) unleashed a sexual revolution simply by rotating her lower body onstage in such a way as to cause millions of men to worship her and millions of women to emulate her. Inul's dance style, which she calls "drilling," is indistinguishable from a move that has been ubiquitous in hip-hop clubs and videos for years, and which Beyoncé recently brought to the mainstream, called "booty popping." Islamic authorities in several Indonesian provinces have banned the dance, Muslim clerics have called for a national boycott of Inul's performances and pray for rain to keep fans away from her shows'.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

May Day Dancing in the Streets

A fairly low key May Day in London yesterday. At Canary Wharf (big business centre) about 100 people danced to a samba band, having previously entered the area disguised in office suits (an event initiated by Space Hijackers). They ended up partying on the Thames beach. In South London, there was dancing round a maypole in Kennington Park to the sounds of Soca, Gogol Bordello (a CD not the band) and a man with a mandolin. A banner read 'Workers of the World Relax'. Elsewhere in the UK there was a street party with sound system in Glasgow.

Globally, things were heavier in some parts of the world. In Los Angeles, police used tear gas to disperse a crowd partying in MacArthur Park at the end of a May Day migrants' rights rally.