Robocops fanned out in a line across the city street. Studiously not looking at the camera, the unemployed line up…who knows what for? First thing you learn is you always gotta wait. Protestors, preponderantly and preposterously middle aged (clenched fists and berets, for goodness sake), have all gone home, assuming they still have homes to go to. Give it a few weeks and some will be back out on the street. This time to sleep.
Smoke, shouts and gunfire. Hauling a body – dead, wounded? – into the back of a van. The sound of man a crying. In a different film, you would take it he was singing, but this is ‘amateur video’ of the attack on Houla, Syria. Another film shows dead bodies from the village of Mazraat al-Qabeer, now dressed in their best clothes and composed – arranged like flowers – for the camera’s worldly eye. The lens lingers over them, and the accompanying voice calls for action against the forces of President Assad. But because there are children among the dead, twenty-first century decorum dictates that we must look at a white blob where their faces would otherwise be. It turns the whole scene into an outtake from the X-Files. So much story-telling, too much narrative, means we can’t see, we can’t see.
Union jack bowler hats, top hats, sailor hats, cowboy – cowboy? – hats. Umbrellas everywhere. Union jack leggings, jeggings, faces and hair. Among the crowds a thousand Wills and Kates (face masks a fiver each); cardboard cut outs of the Queen. Is it all too silly to be true? Wind-swept, rain-streaked, the choir cuts through. Never mind the words (‘Land of Hope’ – that’s dope), or the cold, old lady they are singing to (nine degrees and falling: you can read the temperature by the way she folds her hands together). Only listen to the sound of a thousand years of choral singing, harnessed and let loose again in the mouths of young men and women.