Further advantages to working on freelance basis: Less likely to be somewhere like Aldgate station or Liverpool Street in morning rush hour when shit like this goes down.
I just started typing: I could so easily have been there when the bombs went off... But how often am I up and around in the morning rush hour, really? But those are places I know so well... Aldgate is just about my part of town... Could so easily have been at Kings Cross or Old Street...
Instead I woke up (on someone's sofa in Highgate, on the hill, far above the blot of London spreading beneath surly clouds), black coffee and valium and Marcio rolls a joint (It's early. I decline politely). Mobile phone beeps a news alert: fatalities in London explosions.
TV on just as it was becoming a news story and clearly not an "electric power surge" or a train collision... 7 bombs in London! (4, 8, whatever: I watched BBC, ITV and Channel 5 simultaneously and decided ITV definitely have the best cameramen...)
"Metropolitan Police suspect a co-ordinated terror attack on London!" (that's the Channel 5 news ticker). Ah, I feel safe now, they obviously have experts on the case. I was just thinking seven guys coincidentally just happened to be carrying bombs around central London in shopping bags, but then I realise why Sir Iain Blair has his job... Sharp guy...
Flick channels (Blair speaks... Scenes from central London... Bush speaks, Parliament jabbers... Interviewees with blood running down their faces, bodies covered in sheets, ambulances... More commentary... "Piles of bodies... Offices of British Medical Association literally sprayed with blood..." Take Marcio's joint after all. Remark it would be a good day to do something criminal as the police seem to be quite busy. Flick more channels. Who was it? Who was it? Finally... the terror expert talking heads: who is responsible? All the hall-marks of an al-Qaeda attack...
Get off the TV and onto the internet. Reuters:
I encourage you to familiarise yourself with Dave Bones's malung-tv-news... he has been documenting the story of so-called Islamist fanatics in London for a while now (for two years, to be precise...) And being an earlier riser, was at much greater genuine risk of being near one of those places at the time...
The "Secret Group of al Qaeda's Jihad in Europe" claimed responsibility for
the attack in a Web site posting and warned Italy and Denmark to withdraw their
troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Italian news agency ANSA and al-Quds
al-Arabi newspaper said.
The claim, also sent by email to the London-based daily, could not be
verified and did not appear on any of the main Web sites normally used by al
text messageThe armchair guerilla commander in me smiles. Maximum precision and efficiency with 7 small devices. Hit the Tube, hit the transport nerve centres. London grinds to a halt. Maximum chaos with minimum investment.
From: Dave Bones
To: Mike H
Am heading south i called abdullah. Says he didnt do it
update and re-assessment :: 37 dead so far :: Londoners have something exciting to talk about for a day :: chaos localised and no mass panic
Evening already, death toll has climbed to 37 and will doubtless grow more. I'm assisting a Somali correspondent for some Somali news service on the next computer in the net place on B__ Rd (N7 again, for now...) attach the report he wrote about the bombs to an email... He is mildly infuriated his report doesn't carry his byline and is trying to put that to rights... Funny, that's happened to me as well...
Not reading Somali, I can't tell what his assessment is. The armchair guerilla commander's revised assessment: there may be 37 dead and thousands wounded but the transport links into and out of Central London seem to be running normally. Notes in the doors of social security and other government offices are shut "due to the security situation". Things look normal... Work selling advertising in Doc O's new job doesn't stop for a moment, he tells me, and that was right near one of them...
They hit the right targets, but not hard enough to cause real economic damage, even though the FTSE took an immediate -100 dip. London will be moving again tomorrow, and apart from for the grieving and wounded, by tomorrow everything will be more or less normal again.
Until they find the people who did it were [Pakistanis/Moroccans/Yemenis/____] who have lived here for years... Then people of whatever nation cower in their homes, in Bradford or Bethnal Green or wherever, waiting the racial backlash... Rivers of blood...
The clearest news report I could find from the general media on how things unfolded is from Channel 4 here.