Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend Band, Zimmers Hole @ Manchester University

(Anti-war demo)

(review and pics by MWJ)

Driving up, listening to the radio on events unfolding. Reports on demo in Manchester, will it stop me getting to the gig, should I be bothered? Bloodthirsty media questioning why bother protesting now the wheels are rolling? Errr…For the same reason that they did against the Vietnam war, shall we wait till it drags on for months/years, it’s wrong, do not accept it, now. Get to venue unhindered, time to spare, “Tactical Aid Unit” filth-mobiles flying past, wander up towards centre. All mod cons cops milling about, plus the traditional horsey types. Couple of old dears standing by, watching, comment “I feel sorry for them (police), some of them won’t like the war either”. Couples with young children in tow, hurrying along, not away from, but towards banners and noise. In front of a big sweeping line of dibble bikes and hosses, the march is moving on apace, people piling in from every direction. Join the flow, and so does the adrenaline. The whistles, megaphones, chants, cheers at the horns of approval and peace signs from countless blocked but good-natured motorists. Tears well in my eyes, cos I’m soft and actually care about skiploads of dead Iraqi kids, picture war happening here, maybe it’s only then people will snap out of their apathy and we’ll all be anti-war until its worn off again in another 50 years, or maybe tears of joy that there are still thousands of people who give a fuck. To the beat of samba we bundle along, slowing at some junctions, speeding up to make the (red) lights at others. Numbers difficult to guess, measured by the street full. Pocket of abuse at the Lord Nelson pub (England expects…), many times their number pause to debate. Pass electronic sign reading “System Fault”, too right. Must have covered miles in minutes, off up to around the inner ring road. I leave to one side, convinced to join again when opportunity next arises.More