It was a walk on the 18th May to Piccadilly Circus, a difficult time in a difficult year. Now I look back, it was an easier time in an increasingly more difficult year. The quiet walk absent of footsteps other than my own, very few cars and birdsong heard above anything else.
Then, the sound of music slowly getting louder, a busker playing without an audience to hear it.
She played between the boarded up doors of the businesses behind her, all around her in fact. The only life coming from the huge advertisement boards Piccadilly Circus is known for, advertising to an empty square. For the rare photo opportunity I put some money in her collection case, probably a quid or two, whatever spare change I had on me. Being a professional she hardly acknowledged it as I did, as if I was the hundredth person to do it that day.
Come to think of it, I probably should have counted the coins in there. I wonder how much interaction she had seen that afternoon.
The only interaction I had seen was this deliveryman standing beside her. Giving her encouragement or asking for her number? Waiting for his next collection or waiting for a song request? I am not sure, but she hardly gave him a look. Whatever it was the attendance doubled in that moment.
A couple days later I was taking photos close to Westminster, when the streets were a little quieter and before the barbaric murder of George Floyd. It’s crazy how bad we think 2020 is, until we give it another month. Now, protests have marched through these streets and the statues that I saw couldn’t be more fitting.
Nelson Mandela, and Millicent Fawcett, individuals pursuing the goal of equality and freedom, immortalized as statues not far from the Houses of Parliament. Other statues have been vandalized or even taken down due to connections with slavery.
After all these years we still need to fight for such freedoms. Even if we are slowly chiseling away at the rock of inequality there is still a long way to go. And every day there is evidence of this around the world. The buildings are nice but it isn’t just buildings that need to be worked on over time, human rights need to move along with it.
It makes me wonder how far into the future we will have to look to find a humanity confident that it is being treated fairly across the board. Will we have to wait for the inevitable merge of ethnicities in the coming centuries? Or will it be before then? What we do know is that it isn’t now, clearly what we have isn’t working.
What we need more than ever is conversation. It isn’t necessarily the difference of opinion that is causing problems, but our way of managing it. Our inability to sit and talk about topics we have different stances on, and our lack of ability to want to change our opinions also. From the left to the right, the problem seems consistent across the board. We won’t get anywhere without conversation, and this has to be promoted on social media, in the workplace, in our governments.
I just hope that this conversation begins before we get too disconnected with each other.
‘We have never been so connected, whilst being so disconnected’
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak I am somewhat limited as to what I can do in London, but I aim to post as much as I can during this time. I promise to have some great posts coming your way once this is all over as I continue to explore London.
Stay safe and happy blogging!