And now for the pictures from march and the street party and rally. Some flags:
Banners and placards:
For those who don’t know and are asking, what bus? This bus:
Basically, that slogan is a lie but people didn’t know that and for many that was the reason to vote Leave. That’s the bus I–and many others–have been thrown under. I still have tire marks left over from it.
Elvis was here.
This is Mike Galsworthy of Scientists for EU speaking at the rally.
And of course, fake Boris Johnson riding a unicorn.
And finally Alastair Campbell playing Ode To Joy on bagpipes.
The march took place to coincide with the Conservative Party Conference, which is currently taking place in Manchester. This is part of Autumn of Discontent–a series of marches happening all across the country.
It is also the first time I’ve been out on the streets protesting since my mum took me with her to the Velvet Revolution demonstrations in November 1989, which spelt the end of Communist era in Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Today is the anniversary of the Brexit referendum.
The past 12 months have been a rollercoaster of negative emotions, from anger to disappointment, to sadness and helplessness and rage so intense, it made me want to break things. That sick feeling when I woke up on the morning of 24th June 2016 to the referendum results? I never, ever want to experience that again, ever.
It’s exhausting and I’m tired of it.
So–what now? This now.
It was the song.
You know when you listen to a certain song and it, like, does something to you? I’m sure most of you have experienced it. So, I was listening to The Beatles–which is unusual for me as I normally favour 90s to present music, but I bought a ticket to see their museum in Liverpool, so I thought I should play me some of their tunes. Now, I’d known this song since forever, of course, but this is the time I fully and completely and 100% appreciated it.
This was back in April and I was thinking about how it would be a year since the referendum in two months’ time and I should mark that anniversary somehow; I don’t remember exactly how it came about, I just know it had something to do with the song. Then I’ve been coming across some quotes about forgiveness and how holding a grudge is like letting the person live rent-free inside your head and all that and I made a decision.
So today I want to say this to the Leave voters: I forgive you.
You really had no clue what the fuck you were doing. And even if you did have a clue, I still forgive you anyway.
Paul McCartney wrote the song after he had a dream in which his late mother spoke those words “let it be” to him. His mum’s name was Mary, so mother Mary is actually her, but he said if you want to interpret it religiously as Virgin Mary, then you can. I see her as a very wise mature lady who knows better. I should probably listen to her more often!
Some things I want to add:
at times when I felt so hateful towards the whole of UK, I took a few deep breaths and repeated to myself, the 48%, the forty eight percent, THE FORTY EIGHT PERCENT and thought of everything I liked about this country or that came from here (English breakfast, Agatha Christie etc) and I thought of the children, who have lost their chance at being EU citizens before they even knew what it was
my line manager at work has been an absolute rock
the Facebook group for EU citizens in UK and Brits in EU has been massively helpful to me. I’m prone to anxiety and sometimes I think I’m the only crazy one, so to read that other people are as much worried as me (while the outside world keeps saying oh, but you’ll be alright, they can’t send you back) certainly made me feel better. So much blame is thrown on social media but positives are overlooked.
there was a hilarious article in a Swiss paper (link to translation). Switzerland is not in EU and keeps neutral, so I think I can trust their judgement
Over to you, Fab Four:
I wonder, if anyone would like to share in the comments: is there a song that has made an impact in your life or is important to you in any way?
I like to refer to Manchester as my adopted hometown.
I came to Manchester in 2003 on an au-pair placement. Oft-times I think of how lucky I was to end up here. A city, but not as huge and frantic and loud (and expensive) as London.
I first heard about the attack late on Monday night. It was reported that there was a loud bang at the Manchester Arena after the Ariana Grande concert and at the same time, Metrolink (which I use for my everyday transport) tweeted that services were not going through Victoria Station due to a police incident. Shit, I thought, I bet this is gonna last till tomorrow morning and how will I get to work?
(To clarify, Manchester Arena is next to Victoria Station, the box office entrance is through the station. I pass this station daily, it is physically impossible for me to avoid it when going to and from the city centre.)
As the reports coming in became clearer and clearer, my getting to work stopped being a priority.
You hear there are fatalities. And then you remember, Ariana Grande’s fanbase is young. Very young.
You hear about an attack like this and you want to be a good person and not believe that it is that thing it usually is and then it turns out that it is that thing that is usually is. But this is not what my post is about.
Times of tragedy bring out the goodness in people. Taxi drivers offering free rides. Cafe giving out free coffee to emergency workers. Hotel giving shelter to frightened teens returning from the concert. A homeless man rushing to help the injured.
Terror threat has now been raised to critical and it’s likely we will see soldiers on the streets tomorrow. I will get up in the morning and go to work and do my job as usual and when I finish I will go home and do shopping and cook my dinner and feed my cat and watch my shows and read books as usual, because I’m damned if I let any fanatical terrorist do anything differently.
It is a cliche to talk about the friendliness of the north. Manchester has problems just as every city does: nowhere is populated by saints, everyone is capable of unkindness or worse. But whereas, in other cities, people can be in too much of a rush to bother with niceties, where icy politeness is a substitute for warmth, Manchester stands out. Strangers ask how you are, and mean it. People who have never met can strike up conversations on public transport and on the street: in London, that is seen, quite frankly, as a bit odd. That would have happened in that concert yesterday. That’s just what Mancs do.
Yesterday, Manchester was one of the greatest cities on earth, and it remains so today. The warmth, the solidarity, the unique Manc humour, all of that will thrive as much as it ever did. This was the city that helped bequeath modern industrial civilisation; it is a hurricane of creativity and talent, like the music of Oasis and The Smiths, the art of Lowry, Corrie, the football, the athletes, the comedians, the suffragettes, the LGBT activists.
My native language, Slovak, and English. At school I did German as well as English and later I learned a bit of Spanish but I forgot a lot as, living in UK, I don’t have the need to use any other lingo. I’ve always liked languages, who knows maybe one day I’ll speak another one fluently. Though nowadays knowing a different kind of language would be more beneficial–a programming language.
What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating?
I’m reading Robot Visions, a short story collection by Isaac Asimov. I’ve blogged about Asimov before, he’s one of my favourite authors.
I’m watching a few things. American Gods on Amazon Prime, The 100 on TV and I just started Narcos on Netflix. I must mention the last series I finished watching and enjoyed immensely was Parks and Recreation. I think it must have been one of the best things on TV; funny as hell with a meaning behind it and characters that I now miss like old friends.
I’m not listening to anything in particular because my taste in music is all over the place at the moment. I’ve been listening to some Beatles as I recently visited the museum in Liverpool but otherwise I mainly listen to new-ish stuff. Though last week I searched for Ode to Joy by Beethoven on my Amazon Prime Music app and listened to every version they had. I was overjoyed about the result of the French election and Ode to Joy is an EU anthem and I’m basically Euro-trash and I’m not sorry about it.
My eating habits have much improved from the past, but I still eat too much junk food and chocolate. Also it turned out I had high cholesterol so I swapped my breakfast bacon sandwich for avocado on toast.
What was the last photo you took with your phone?
What is your favourite time of day?
Evening and night. I’m a night owl.
Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
What am I grateful for from last week? I guess Eurovision was alright. And you know, just being alive and healthy and all that. And the world looking more green.
There’s always weekend to look forward to if nothing else. And some pictures to take!