Everyday Life

London, London, London (feat. The House of Commons)

2015 06 15 house of commons 03

There have been many busy days and they’ve been firmly attached to each other. I seem to have spent the majority of the last couple of weeks travelling down to London and I can honestly say I’m fed-up with the train now and glad to be back in the Fens. Some days out here I might not even see one person, and that suits me fine!

We launched the Shutter Hub OPEN Exhibition last week, and had a busy time installing it, promoting it, and then welcoming a record number of Private View guests to the St Bride Foundation off Fleet Street. We also came across a delightfully manky street pigeon. So greasy. I shared a packet of Corkers crisps (our kind event sponsors) with him. I didn’t touch him because he looked untouchable, but I did hope that he’d hop gratefully into my hand bag, unfolding a tissue with his beak as he went, and sit down gently on it so as not to soil my purse. Disappointingly, that didn’t happen.

No sooner was I home than I was back in the city for talks with the British Journal of Photography and Free Range at the Old Truman Brewery, a night at The Hoxton and a day of GoFolio reviews with emerging photographers.

I was home for a couple of days, and then back again, this time to The House of Commons.

I swam (doggy paddle, of course) through the sea of tourists who were trying to get selfies in front of Big Ben, up to Cromwell Green. Arriving at the Houses of Parliament I was asked, ‘Any knives? Any pepper spray?’ It wasn’t a sales pitch, it was security.

2015 06 15 house of commons 25

I carried on through, removing all my shiny things and placing everything on the X-ray conveyor. I walked through the scanner, it beeped loudly so I was given a thorough frisking. It reminded me of being trampled by a cat, I laughed, and then stopped laughing when they asked me to remove the knife from my bag!

2015 06 15 house of commons 14

I was early, so I just loitered. I took the chance to go up into the Strangers Gallery and look down on the House of Lords with delight at all the gold and bling, the stained glass and the peers tapping away on their smart phones. The lights flickered on and off, apparently there was a problem with the generator.

2015 06 15 house of commons 09

2015 06 15 house of commons 10

With it’s fancy Pugin wallpaper and impressive carpets the Palace of Westminster was most interesting. I must have looked most interested because a policeman approached me and told me that if I came back on a Saturday I could see the room where the Queen gets changed.

2015 06 15 house of commons 11

Whilst I was just hanging around, a woman came up to me and said, excitedly, ‘Did you see Lionel Richie? He was waving at us!’ I shook my head, and text Adam, ‘Apparently Lionel Richie’s in the building!’ I pressed send, looked up, and there he was, within reaching distance!

The swell of temptation came over me, ‘Oh my God!’ I thought, ‘Please don’t let me start singing!’  After the knife debacle this would have not helped my cause. Luckily Lionel was whisked away, and I was told rather abruptly to ‘Sit down!’ I must have had that look on my face.

I always thought that clay head in the ‘Hello’ video was ridiculously oversized, but having seen Lionel in the flesh, I now think it was a rather accurate representation.

Later someone was enthusing about having seen Boris Johnson in the corridors, and I was all like, ‘Erm, hello! I nearly did a duet with Lionel Richie!’

2015 06 15 house of commons 12

I’d been invited to House of Commons for the Champions of Change awards. I was asked along to the event as someone who has made a significant impact in my sector, I was told that I was amongst the elite of the elite, and that only 45 invitations had gone out to a possible 30,000 people.

2015 06 15 house of commons 18

I found my entry in the directory of Whos Who of Britains Business Elite. It all seemed very bizarre. I chuckled to myself as I posed for the photographers with Nicola who was trimmed in Prada and diamonds, glancing down at my own shoes – I was wearing chicken poop covered Nikes.

2015 06 15 house of commons 23

I chatted to a few people and noted how ordinary they were. I stood out on the Thames Pavilion watching the boats go by, eating pretty cakes and tidy sandwiches. The view was marvellous.

2015 06 15 house of commons 21

2015 06 15 house of commons 20

Afterwards I was escorted, with my knife, to the gates by a policeman. I ’befriended’ a man in a pale pink shirt who had a large padlock (also confiscated) by telling him he looked like he was dressed as a mini-milk, and then I got on the train home to my lovely chickens.