Just back from Brixton where half a dozen shops have one or all of their windows boarded up. One of those being Morleys and it looks as if most of those windows are boarded for safety rather than anything else. Everything else carrying on as normal, though people seemed chattier than normal, groups of ladies on Coldharbour Lane doorsteps talking to each other, shopkeepers smiling, blokes passing the street saying hi (I don’t think I suddenly turned into a barbie doll, so that was unusual). Yes it feels like something has happened, not nothing, not at all, but it also feels like people so very much want to get on.

On the policing thing, I truly don’t understand how Foot Locker in Brixton was looted and then burned (doesn’t look fully burned out, but certainly smoke and fire damage), when police are 300 yds away max at Brixton Police Station, they are closer than round the corner. Seems pretty odd that 1000s of schoolkids were kettled just a few months ago on education cuts protests, but the same can’t be done to stop looters.

Then went on to market & Brixton Village to buy things from all the small local businesses still open, still serving, all fine. spoke to a couple of shopkeepers and they all said they were far more worried about the effect on business of hyped reporting than of rioters who didn’t come near their end of Brixton (which was all shut at night anyway). Keep calm and carry on, talk to neighbours, support small local businesses, and don’t let this be a cause for more us & them alienation, I’d say.

And now for some better news/hopeful links :
all the #riotwomble and #riotcleanup people out there, here’s a great pic
love the image on the riot cleanup site
and a disappointingly small BBC report about it (esp given how much attention is being given to the bad side of the coin).

You can help people who have lost homes/housing by donating bedding/clothes to Apex House, 820 Seven Sisters Road, London N15 5PQ.

Useful hashtags : #riotcleanup #riotwombles (LOVING the riotwombles)

Plus some good thinking on what’s going on :
the ever thoughtful, and lovely, Salena Godden
the engaged and on-the-ground Camila Batmanghelidjh of Kids Company

What do I want for tonight? No army, no water cannon, no just-back-from-Italy Cameron telling us those cleaning up are the Big Society, no hard swing to the right ‘justified’ by these horrible riots, just quiet please. Just quiet.

It’s a lovely sunny summer afternoon in South London, long may it stay that way.

and this : so lovely