December.


The month of December. Always a busy month adjacent to probably the most relaxing month. Here’s a little run down of the things that went on in December. Some of the things I’ve been looking at and then some of the things that I’ve been doing.

First of all, here a few things that have caught my eye recently. Firstly and probably the most memorable thing I can think of is the new Audi A7 Sportback commercial. I’ve only seen it aired once on TV and that was during the X Factor final. It blew me away. I’ve always had a liking for Audi cars due to their concept looking styling and the quality of the cars themselves. I’ve never driven one but I’ve been in a couple and it’s just bliss. The commercial shows a black and white symmetrical viewing of features of the car shown to a dirty bassy beat. The two elements really compliment each other and I was further surprised to find out that the artist producing the track was none other than the Basement Jaxx (remixed explicitly for the ad). Take a look at it below;

Another video from my YouTube favourites is this Music Video for Audio Bully’s “Only Man”. The music itself is great and an I instantly recognised it from Radio 1’s playlist. However, it was the video itself that caught my attention more. I loved the way it has been filmed from below on a stage most likely to be just a thick sheet of glass with another sheet of perspex on top (the second sheet just to make it easier to always have a clear surface) and the camera positioned below. The dancers and singer angle themselves to present to the camera in a vertical manner. As the dancers move around, you can notice that the soles of the shoes are showing the lyrics to the song and are sometimes animated to the beat. The lyrics are presented as parodies to existing major logos such as M&Ms Coca-Cola and Intel and I’m still unsure whether they were actually manufactured or animated or even made with plasticine. Anyway, watch and enjoy!

As you may know, there have been a series of protests happening around the UK related to the proposition to raise University fees from their current maximum allowance of £3,270 per year to around £9,000. You can read up on it from many bloggers and news sites or you can click this and get a run down of sites that explain it all.

As you may have read in earlier posts, I’ve got a real passion for viewing photographs from dangerous areas such as warzones and protests and have been eager to get in there with my camera. I was invited to the first demonstrations about the tuition fees a few months back but declined on the event as I didn’t think it would really be the sort of event I was looking for.

How wrong was I? Take a look at this.

I was gutted for two reasons. Number one; I was disappointed in the way that Students had been represented by these anarchists that were only at the protest to start fights and cause damage. Secondly, I was annoyed with myself for turning down the chance of actually going to the protest and getting some photographs. The following week, I found out that there was a second protest. However, it was on a day that I was working and so I missed the whole thing. But one week later, December the 9th, it was the day of the vote to decide whether the tuition fees would increase in 2012 and I packed my camera gear and made my way down to Westminster for what could have been the most dangerous situation I’ve ever been in.

When I got there, I was on the embankment side of the Houses of Parliament and the police had blocked off the road from Westminster bridge into Parliament Square. There were a few people shouting about but nothing crazy. In the distance I could see smoke and flares being lit. I knew straight away that I had to get to Whitehall and make my way down into Parliament Square. As I was walking down, you could smell the intensity of the protest from fires and just the sheer number of people walking around. I made it past police lines and was in the heart of it. My immediate thought was “this feels like a scene from a carnival” There were people clambering on top of traffic lights and crowds of people with drums all playing an intimidating beat right in the faces of the police force. There were large speakers kicking out tracks and people dancing around. It was an odd scenario to be in and then as I turned around I saw that the towards the centre of Parliament Square there were fires being lit and a lot of smoke around. I moved around the area into the four corners that were all blocked off by the police. Everywhere I looked there was something going on. More speakers and dancing, huge fires and crowds of people pushing against the Police barricades.

I went to one of the corners where a massive group of people were pushed right up against the Police and shouting and generally protesting to them. I got a few pictures of people and of some reporters filming their reports for the news later in the evening. They were all receiving a large amount of abuse from people and then something crazy happened. The Police line split up and dropped the rigid line that they had been holding and started advancing towards us all with batons in hand. They were coming in from the side and hitting people who wouldn’t fall back into the centre of the square. It was the first time of the day where I genuinely felt my heart rate go a bit mental. I was close to the frontline so I kind of scrambled back with everyone else. The Police did notice that I had a camera in my hand so nothing was actually targeted towards me but for the people next to me, that was another story.

Many things happened in the day, but the most graphic thing I saw was a guy at the very front of a crowd of people get struck on the head from a flying brick from behind. It had obviously been thrown at the Police but it fell short and knocked this guy straight on the head. He didn’t fall down but stumbled towards the Police and they immediately took him onto their side and a few officers took him off to an ambulance. I got out of that area pretty quick with another photographer and we both said how we need to get helmets like some of the more experience photographers.

As the night went on, I realised that we’d all been “kettled” in Parliament Square. This is a tactic used by the Police as a way of containing a situation. No one could leave the area except for the press, Under 16s and injured people. As I don’t have a press card (yet) I had to stay with everyone else. There was an area I went to try and leave and everyone was sat on the floor singing Christmas songs. Even this sign of peacefulness wasn’t enough for the Police to let us go. I waited there for about an hour and a half and then we got forced back into the square towards the riots that were happening. It didn’t really make sense how they were just pushing us into the danger area. After moving round to other areas for an hour or so trying to leave I finally got talking to an officer who told me that I could leave with a group of people being escorted out.

Of all the officers I was talking to, they were all pretty decent people and took an interest into the safety of everyone who was being peaceful. A few of them had children of their own who would be affected by the fees rise but they had to put their Job first and accept the Government. A few were also interested to see the photos I had gained and gave compliments to them. I hate to hear of people abusing the Police because they are just doing their job. They are not the people behind the reasons why people protest but they are the face of it because they’re at the front of the situation. When you look deeper into an issue you will realise that you can sometimes be protesting and rioting to people who believe the same as you.

The whole day was an amazing experience and I will definitely be going to more protests and will be getting a student press card in the near future. I will also buy a helmet. Below are a collection of photos that I got from the day.

Student Protest Battleground

Protesters Around a Fire

Protesters Around a Fire

Student Protester Gas Mask

Protesters Rioting With a Fence

Protesters Rioting With a Fence

Riot Police Houses of Parliament

Riot Police Officers Frontline

Riot Police Officer With Baton and Shield

Protesters Fire

Tapeman Hates Cuts

Finally, in the middle of December, I had the hand in for my first semester of Year 2 Graphic Design. This time around it was a fully digital hand-in as the snow had caused disruptions with people getting things printed. You can see the whole portfolio for the two units below in the form of an Issuu document.

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