17 October 2011

#OccupyDameStreet - A Mighty Wind

(almost) Gone with the Wind
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Monday 17th October
Monday morning saw the winds blow in and threaten to bring everything crashing down. Unlike other #Occupy movements around the world that have congregated in parks, central squares and other sheltered areas (and more temperate climes in general), #OccupyDameStreet are bunkered down on a cold, hard patch of concrete sandwiched between two wind tunnels that funnel up the icy dank air of the Liffey straight into your bones.

This morning it was all hands on deck as the massive tarp roof, painstakingly sewn together and affixed to a lattice of ropes last night, collapsed in tatters after threatening to ascend to the heavens and carry the whole camp with it to the Emerald City and beyond. With ferries cancelled on the Irish Sea today, it is safe to say that it is a blustery day indeed. Weather has become a major concern for the Camp, now that it looks as if this will be the ongoing event that everyone hoped it would be, the practicalities of an outdoor occupation in Ireland in Winter are foremost on everyone's mind. Every second conversation seems to start with "Have you heard there's snow coming?", and while every Irish man, woman and child is an amateur meteorologist (sure what would we talk to taxi-drivers about if we weren't?) the fact is that the weather is getting nastier, and worse is to come.

Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling. Down. Down. Down.
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Monday 17th October
The afternoon saw the angry heavens open and make a serious attempt to wash the camp away. The media team were shaken from their lazy afternoon torpor by the sudden influx of sodden Camp residents appearing like a Titanic-themed flash mob, #occupySweeney's the meme had become #occupySweeney's the reality. The afternoon workshops decamped to the pub and Sweeney's echoed to the dulcet tones of Andy Storey and Michael Taft, sadly not as exotic as the open-air #Occupy University but inarguably drier.

While donations of blankets, sleeping bags and pillows have been greatly received, the need now is for larger tents, marquees and even teepees, and, above all else, material for insulation like foam or sleeping mats. The existing tents have been placed atop and attached to wooden shipping pallets in an attempt both to secure them and to keep their occupants from sleeping directly on the cold stone paving beneath. There is a part of me that wonders if the hands-off approach of the Gardai is a result of their assumption that the weather, like Napoleon in Russia, will put a halt to the Camp far more effectively than any kettling or baton charge, and with a minimum of media fuss.

After a night like last night, and a day like today, my respect for the Overnighters has grown exponentially.

(Re)Construction ahead.
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Monday 17th October

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At 4:00 pm, Anonymous eleanor said...

Yes Davie I think Gards do think that way, passive-agressive avuncular.The other side of the family are doing their best to lever some serious weather cover from folk who may have it, but who have to have meetings for decisions. It may be a time when majority voting favours something positive though, who knows?:) (sorry I hate those silly symbols, but hey the people who needed to communicate invented them for purpose of tone and I reluctantly concede their use). I hope we can make things more comfortable so. They deserve it.


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