Wednesday, 27 June 2012
we are the space invaders
I've written previously about crossing Westminster Bridge during busy times. If I'm alone I sometimes think of it like a game of Space Invaders, where there's all manner of unexpected obstacle to traverse.
From the south side it starts as you pass the hot dog stand 'chili dogs available' and then progresses all the way to the traffic lights by Parliament and the soon to be named Queen Elizabeth Tower.
There's random tourists, groups of students with identifying hats or tee shirts or jackets, people with cameras taking pictures of "Big Ben" at various distances according to their camera lens.
One of my favourites is the small groups of tourists with wheely bags and cameras, clearly distracted about what they are doing. They sometimes remind me of those little toys that whirl around looking for edges to bump into.
There's always a selection of dodgy traders and someone usually playing bagpipes or an accordion. Nowadays there's a few rickshaws toting for tourists and parked along the red lines as well.
Then there's the rotation between people dressed up as characters from Shrek or the people playing three card trick and shell games. Take a picture of someone in the costume and expect to donate a banknote. And weirdly the card playing crowd or shell game crowds all seem to have a general Eastern European family resemblance to the person operating the game. Except for the normally far Eastern tourist waving £20 banknotes around in the middle.
There's always the gang's 'watcher outers' for whatever illegal operation is under way and they will set up 6 or 7 pitches across the bridge at one time. Nowadays the police are using pedal bikes as a way to home in rapidly on the naughtiness.
I suppose it's inevitable that the area will attract modern day costermongers to ply their wares but rip-off gambling in the shadow of Parliament still seems wrong. I blogged about this some time ago but yesterday noticed that it has now been discussed in Parliament, presumably as another part of the tidy up for the games.
Oh, and on reflection, maybe it's more like Galaxian than Space Invaders?