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BY A SAMBISTA | 17.10.2004 01:33 | European Social Forum | Globalisation | London

With a delayed start due to uninvited company, we were left rushing to Speakers Corner - 1 hour late and feeling a bit disorganised, but ready to bring on the carnival spirit, bringing the unexpected, encouraging people to question everything.

The police had already had a chat with the Carnival Forum saying that the bus couldn't pass through Oxford Street, and after a quick jam and play, we were informed that our conditions for trying to bring a creative vibe to a consumer space were that we must not stop and no obstructing the road. That was quite some request considering that the pathements are busy and that it was a 40+ strong samba band. We did it anyway while an affinity group took to the back roads, dodging police and winding up in a cafe to dump the drums. There was a quick discussion, the flyer was read out to the camera, a deep breath, and they were off in 2s and 3s headed for Nike town. They'd found suitable objects in the shop (the sofa, boxes, shelves) and got straight into the groove, with a call of 'Fuck Nike' in the break. Flyers were distributed that were encouraging others to reappropriate these mass produced objects that are ploughed at us. "Conform and Consume? Resist and Create."
The undercover security, dressed in the sweated for Nike costumes, were on them in moments and one sambista landed up with a nasty cut and bruise to the hip and a grazed elbow when he was thrown from the shop. Off to McDonalds, passed the clowns worshipping those commodities at Sketchers, to check Gap. No good. Back to McDonalds for about 5 minutes of playing and handing out flyers until the manager shouted 'shut up' in the break, with a response of 'Fuck McDonalds'. Job done.
In a similar vein, the sambistas hooked up with No Sweat, the GMB and the CGT outside Puma on Carnaby Street. The band was large and police numbers were growing. As we played outside the shop, flyers were handed out, and, surprise surprise, 'Fuck Off Puma" was called in the breaks. We were given a lot of attention by the shoppers, but as we came to the end of the pedestrian area we were circled by the police. Again we were read our conditions, held in the 'briefing' by the police, and finally we were on the move down Oxford Street. Flyers were distributed in Nike Town as the band went by. McDonalds and Virgin received their fuck offs from the sambistas, and finally, surrounded by police up a back street, we decided to call it a day and go to the pub.