Thursday, June 22, 2006

Out in the midday sun

Speakers' Corner

A view across the grass to Speaker's Corner, the north east corner of Hyde Park, London, on the day of the Stop the War demo in 2003 (Saturday, March 22nd.)

One of the regular characters, waving a bible and arguing with hecklers who dallied to torment him on their way to the demo. (I don't think the whistles are part of the heckling.) (Listen)

Don't go via the underpass if you can help it. [Is this still the same? Ed]

V. S. Naipaul on Speakers' Corner: V. S. Naipaul arrived in London in the late fifties or early sixties (?). He has published some of his impressions in a short story "Bohemia." Here is a snippet where he mentions his alter ego Willie Chandran's first impression of Speakers' Corner.

"The only two places he knew about were Buckingham Palace and Speakers' Corner. He was disappointed by Buckingham Palace. He thought the maharaja's palace in his own state was far grander, more like a palace, and this made him feel, in a small part of his heart, that the kings and queens of England were impostors, and the country a little bit of a sham. His disappointment turned to something like shame—at himself, for his gullibility—when he went to Speakers' Corner. [...] He didn't expect to see an idle scatter of people around half a dozen talkers, with the big buses and the cars rolling indifferently by all the time. Some of the talkers had very personal religious ideas, and Willie, remembering his own home life, thought that the families of these men might have been glad to get them out of the house in the afternoons."

Text: Feargal Mooney. Pictures: Ossian Lennon. Sound: Ida Token

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