Thought it might be fun to live blog tonight's riot. Latest entries first. This page will auto-reload every four minutes.
22.18, homeAll still quiet in SW5. Hitting the always-popular hay.
21.03, homeAnna calling her law school colleague, Alice, who lives in Peckham, one of the afflicted areas…
Signing off for a bit now. We're going to have a nice curry and watch Band of Brothers.
If you can't live without non-stop coverage, I commend you to the live BBC news stream at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14449675, which will more or less just cut out the middleman that is me…
20.28, homeThis is good, too a note calling for people to patrol the roads around Ealing pushed through residents' doors.
"And one free man defending his home…"
20.04, homeUproarious laughter from Anna, followed by "God bless my northern brothers…"
Sign on the door of Subway in Manchester.
20.00, homePeriodic exclamations from Anna sat in front of the news:
"London's jails filled up last night! They ran out of cells. Had to send people to Essex."
"Gotta love a dog. A dog will get the job done. Big, stalwart police hounds."
"It's kicked off in Manchester now…"
"Gangs of racists are now roaming the streets in Enfield! Oh, no… A hundred white men shouting, 'Get the Pakis'…"
19.16, homeAnna: "The Welsh are here! They've brought in police officers from Wales!"
Still totally quiet here. Only the sound of my blender…
19.07, still safe at homeAnna's watching a lovely video of Claphamites out cleaning up their own neighbourhood.
Of course, this is just the antidote to the shitbird rioter/looters. (That, and locking them up forever, along with their parents and then getting on with some mandatory sterilization…)
Here is is:
18.58, (yes, still) homeAnna: "I wouldn't want to be in Birmingham tonight."
Me (sotto voce): "Or any night…"
Anna (clutching chest): "They attacked Harvy Nics…"
This is now basically just Anna watching online news, calling it out, and me typing it up. Which, obviously, you could have just watched it yourself…
18.47, homeAnd so my back peddling begins.
Anna informs me that, pace my comments about the immunity of RBK&C below… in fact, Hugo Boss in Sloane Square got taken out last night. (Boss? Hugo Boss?) And there was a little mayhem in Notting Hill Gate.
And thusly is my protective bubble of poshness popped.
Anna watching BBC across from me. "Local residents forming human chains," she says, "to protect their homes!" Bless.
18.39, homeAnna home safely.
"Have you been following the news?" she asks.
"I've been making the news," I reply, defensively, pointing at this screen.
She tells me that Cameron has authorized the use of rubber bullets. Rock.
16,000 police on the streets tonight. I know a couple of them. Godspeed, good luck, and stay safe, I've been texting and e-mailing.
"Community clean-ups in Clapham," Anna says. That's the London, and those the Londoners, I know and love.
18.20, homeOkay, got enough entries up for now. Going to have my frappe. Pardon blogging interegnum.
Oh, while you wait for me to frap, here's my friend Sangita, out braving the mean streets last night:
Poor woman's losing some serious sleep, evidently.
18.02, homeHome and all settled.
Alex sends a text (in response to mine):
I light up and tell him that was exactly my plan: if they try to torch the building, I'm going to rush outside with the Masai war club he gave me that one Christmas (just about the only weapon I can legally have around here), along with a dodgy old canister of pepper spray.Yeah, if it weren't for the current financial crisis in the US these riots would be making headline news. I would tell you to go load your gun, just in case, but upon further reflection sadly, you have no bullets…or a gun for that matter. Well, at least you have a fucking African club to fight off the hooligans… ;-)
But it's not going to happen. This is Kensington. As I've reassured loved ones, almost all the rioting is in places so dodgy I wouldn't go there, even under normal circumstances, on a bet.
And this is likely to be some very slow riot blogging from here on out…
17.58, outside my buildingOne of the longer-term building residents on front stoop with phone. Famously, he owns and parks a nice Audi on the street here.
He seems to be doing something about that.
17.46, walking back up Cromwell RoadA few sirens audible.
I send a text to a bunch of loved ones in the States: "Really lovely night for a riot."
And it is. Totally beautiful evening.
17.30, back by station, in WaitroseMob scene. (Albeit this store isn't well set up for high-traffic.) It's either panic buying, or Sainsburys being closed, or a bit of both.
I grab bananas, and ice, and soya milk and a big bottle of Diet Coke, remembering we've got a bottle of Jack in.
Anna and I both might decide we need a drink tonight.
17.20, outside Sainsbury's on Cromwell RoadSainsbury's shuttered, for the riots.
A few people outside peering in. "They must have closed for the riots."
I like to think they closed so their employees, all of whom live in the totally dodgy places where rioting is big, can get home safely.
This is RBK&C.
17.15, walking down Cromwell RoadPass a big group of about eight Met officers.
I wave real big and say, "Good luck tonight! Good luck!
"Thanks," one says, smiling big.
17.02, on a District line trainTrain stopped dead short of South Kensington Station.
Everyone a little spooked, honestly. Not less so, when the driver came on and said they had "a passenger taken ill" on the train ahead. Then came on a minute later saying they had "a passenger alarm" on the train ahead. W, actually, TF?
Train resumed, got off, no problems.
16.50, walking across Westminster BridgeIt's a funny old thing, living in a town with a 12-month high-gear tourist season.
Here were all these people awe-struckedly snapping pictures of Big Ben, fresh off the plane. I was getting ready for the riot. They were having their first few minutes' experience of London. Life's all timing, innit?
16.45, walking through Lambeth NorthThere was such a festive atmosphere, I thought I might stop off for a pint on the way home. But I didn't want to get stuck on a crowded train, so I thought maybe pop into the offy and pick up a bottle for the trip home.
On reflection, decided maybe tonight wasn't a great night to be drinking in public. Also, the offy didn't really have anything I fancied.
Carried on to (Westminster) Station.
About 16.00, at workSomeone busts into my music to tell me everyone's being sent home "in case it kicks off early".
"You don't understand," I said. "I live in Kensington & Chelsea. I'm in absolutely no danger. Rioting's simply not the done thing."
Place cleared out sharp-ish any excuse and I was the last to leave. That was about 4.40pm.