This is a small point.
On the first day, I was shaking my head at the news about Tottenham, but getting on with my job - it was a Sunday, but I was at work, helping out with a commedia dell’Arte workshop we were filming. There was a lot of laughing. I didn’t have trouble laughing.
That night, I stayed with my boyfriend in Brixton, on a road just off the high street. Out the window we could hear the helicopters, the shouting, the sound of bricks hitting the pavement and glass breaking onto the street. All I had in my head was the picture of Tottenham going up in flames, and the thought that at any minute something might get set on fire. You don’t want to go to sleep thinking that might be you.
I don’t know what I was expecting the next morning. Nothing had happened to me. I was fine. No-one had died yet. David Cameron and Boris Johnson were still on holiday. It wasn’t… a big deal yet. Because at work, on the phone, online, people were still laughing. Making jokes about footlocker. Saying ‘police in Tottenham estimate £2,000,000 of impovements made’. It wasn’t happening to them. I suppose it wasn’t happening to most people. I don’t remember hearing the phrase ‘London riots’ then. It was Tottenham, Brixton and Enfield riots. I wanted to ask people - where are these faraway places you don’t live?
That night the riots ballooned into a dozen more neighbourhoods and suddenly people were screaming for water cannons and the army. It wasn’t worse. The footage was better, and it was happening in more places.
But really, it had only ever been happening in one place. The same place. This had been happening in London for 3 days, but for the first two, most people were pretending it wasn’t happening at all.