Friday, July 22, 2005

Further incidences

Once again, bomb scares and threats throughout London. Along with two others, his time there was one at Warren Street (near the Institute where I was yesterday) and on the number 26 bus on Hackney Road - from what I can tell from the photos, it was close to where I go past on my way to capoeira.


We were at lunch in SOAS when the reports first started coming through. But not knowing how serious they were, I was unsure whether I should call people and unduly alarm them. Then when I decided to call it was impossible to get through; the phone network was down once again, creating yet more chaos for people. Thank God for email then - that was still working and most foreign friends were reassured (usually it's those abroad who worry the most since London presumably seems smaller from that perspective). The only positive aspect of these events is that I copy everyone into the email, and so I'm now talking more frequently to people that I have failed to keep in touch with for awhile.

The police advice was for everyone to stay where they were and not move. But that's a bit difficult if the tube lines are down. I walked over to UCL to hand in my application for a position there and found a constant stream of people walking up Gordon Square, pulling suitcases and trying to get people on their mobile phones. As with two weeks ago everyone seemed remarkably calm and the silence resulting from an absence of traffic was eerie.

The contrast with my personal experience later in the afternoon couldn't be more telling. A few of us went for a pint in a nearby pub. The cricket was on the TV and England were failing to capitalise on their first inning success against the Australians. You could also have forgotten anything had happened at lunch time. But getting home in the evening I saw the news bulletins were full of the day's events.

Yet you can imagine that if this happens more often it will come to be seen as a regular event - and people will emphasise the cricket rather than the disruptions caused by these failed bombings.

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