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Pirate Brickhill 'An African in London' Pt 3 - PC intermission

*bloggers note - This adventure takes place halfway through the Passing Clouds feature (between 'Doesn't time fly?' and 'A week later...') in case anyone is keeping track.

Adventures across London Fields

Walking back up past Dalston junction, my head still full of music, I found my way to the right bus stop only to be harassed by a strange girl (to be fair at that time of the morning everyone seems a little strange), who had popped out for cigarettes from a friend's house, become lost and now wanted to borrow my phone to call her friend and find out the way back. I sized her up and having decided that she didn't look too shifty after all, and if she did run off with my phone I was pretty sure she couldn't outrun me. No problem. Five minutes later and I was walking her back to her friend's house having been invited in for a late drink and a cocktail of cider, cigarettes and politics ensued. Nice. When I looked at the time it was gone 6am and I decided that I had now finally milked the night for all it was worth and at any moment I was in danger of finding myself in 'tomorrow' without having had any sleep.

Armed with fairly incomprehensible directions from the three lovely young ladies of the house, I wandered off in what I hoped was vaguely the right direction but was soon at ease as I chanced upon London Fields and realised where I was. Little did I know, as I strolled home, that I would be back across London Fields several times in the next 24hrs.

I awoke refreshed and ready for more adventure but dilly-dallied around in my flat for a while looking cautiously outside at the weather: my next engagement was a picnic back in London Fields and keen as I was to encourage the start of picnic-ing (and therefore summer), such joys are unfortunately weather dependent. I soon received a text message announcing that the picnic in question had been relocated indoors, luckily the new location was a house conveniently on the edge of the very same park.

Having gouged myself on some delightful cakes and scintillating conversation – much of which, considering the prevalence of Zimbabwean accents, inevitably revolved around the ongoing saga that is the Zimbabwean election – I began to become acutely aware of the worrying number of expectant and new mothers that seemed around my age. As the gathering passed it's peak, with much of the booze and cakes having been already consumed, and many of the non-eastenders heading for their respective boroughs, I decided to keep the initiative and journey on to the next party, a fellow filmmakers 50th at a pub across the park in Hackney.

As I strolled once again along the peripheries of London Fields park, I chanced fortuitously on Jamie, who was as it turned out, just on his way back to Passing Clouds to inquire as to the band 'Ibile's availability for the 'Run-Riot' live event at Shunt. As I continued, after a brief 'Hello, fancy seeing you here', I became slightly concerned as I realised that I was not entirely sure where I was going. Indeed, an hour later, having scoured the roads just north of the park – where I was convinced this pub was, I was forced cross the park again to return to the picnic house to charge my dying phone and check the exact whereabouts of the pub I was heading for. That turned out to be a happy accident as I chanced upon a couple of late arrivals to the picnic-party who I had a nice chat with and a well earned and much needed cup of tea. Once more I headed off across London Fields towards Hackney, thinking to myself how strange it was that I seemed to have been magnetically drawn to the park all day.

After I'd finally found The Ship which I now realised was basically next door to the Hackney Empire and made an appearance, it was time to head off in search of one last chapter to this adventure, and as it was apparently the international weekend for squatter activist events, I headed off to a squat party in Lower Clapton with some of the more active contingent from the earlier picnic. We were hoping to catch a 'ska' band who were supposed to be playing there but it turned out that I was not the only person with multiple event commitments and our party was forced to make a short pit-stop at Biddle Bros. which although a nice enough place most of the time, was rammed like the Central line at Bethnal Green on a weekday morning.

Suffice to say our detour took long enough for us to have missed the 'ska' band, and so as we wandered past an estate and into the party venue, reclaimed from the site of some disused premises, it was some 'conscious-militant-hip-hop' that entered our ears. Someone told me that the building had been an 'official' pub/club which had been closed down after a shooting, but I wasn't sure whether or not I believed them. The building was in such a state of disrepair, I imagined it must have been empty for some time, and whatever it may have been in a previous life, it was now quite transformed. Anarchist anti-war banners where doted around the place, which itself revelled in being slightly dingy and makeshift. In the bar area, I was happy to find the drinks only modestly marked up from cost price – and of course, being I assumed, an unlicensed venue, the smoking ban was in complete retrograde motion.

As I began to feel the weekend catching up with me, I wandered back into the band area where what I can only describe as a 'punk-electro-trance' crossover group were whipping the crowd into something of a frenzy. I didn't quite have the motivation or the energy to join in, although I imagined that I would have had fun if I'd been in the mood. On the wall behind the band I noted some graffiti that seemed rather apt. It said, 'Riot! Fuck sake.'