Yesterday was another long, fascinating day with John. He messaged me at about noon, quite out of the blue, proposing we go up to a Palestinian film festival at SOAS. I said ‘why not’, and he suggested we meet at Waterloo bridge at two. I headed up there (I’m now getting more and more confident about whizzing around the capital on my own) but, due to J not specifying which side of the bridge we were going to meet on, it wasn’t until about three that we actually found one another.
Nonetheless, what followed was a fascinating afternoon, first popping in on a Masonry exhibition (the society, not the profession), before going up to the University of London, near Russel Square. The event was a series of short films, played back to back, about what life is like in Palestine. As you can imagine most were very powerful indeed, but one which especially caught my eye and which I now seriously want to watch again was about a group of Palestinian wheelchair racers in training for the Paralympic games: the problems they were shown to face really put my life into perspective.
It was dark when the film screenings ended, but the day was far from over. John and I then caught a bus to Brick Lane: what a fantastic, funky area that is, full of clothes shops and music. We met a group of J’s skateboarding friends, and spent the evening talking, eating and exploring the area. I certainly want to go up there again soon, perhaps to explore it by myself; yet the films I had just seen were still in my mind. Here I was in this vibrant, cosmopolitain metropolis, full of the rich variety of human life, while in other parts of the world people rather like myself were dodging bullets struggling to survive. Here, such realities are shown as arthouse films in university lecture theatres on Saturday afternoons, but there they are inescapable.