Posts Tagged ‘GoogleMaps’

(*) splurge (as in “ostentation”) n. : an ostentatious display (of effort or extravagance etc.) splurge (as in “squander”) v. : indulge oneself; “I splurged on a new TV” splurge (as in “flaunt”) v. : be showy or ostentatious
(**) ostentation (as in “display”) n. : a showy outward display ostentation (as in “inelegance”) n. : lack of elegance as a consequence of pomposity ostentation (as in “pretentiousness”) n. : pretentious or showy or vulgar display

Following the news of the rioting and looting in the UK (Tuesday August 9 2011) I found a Google map and database produced by the Guardian, that keeps track of riot events as they become known. The data is also provided for download for further exploration by the public . I downloaded the file and made a small script to interpret the data, because I want to understand what is happening and I have many questions:

Frustrated (unemployed) youth educated as a consumptive generation without having the means? Lack of educational opportunities? Street gangs? Enraged youngsters fed up with discrimination? Spontaneous associations of  troublemakers from all over town? Combinations of window smashers and bystanders that (also) grab the opportunity of unpaid shopping? Many more options could be thought of. As we do see several examples of local shopkeepers and entrepreneurs, who are part of the local community, that fall victim to arson, smashing and looting, one wonders about the motivation and background of the perpetrators.

The GoogleMap in the Guardian that indicates the riot spots, shows both concentration points in poor suburbs and also notes a few bashings of high street shops in more affluent areas. Oxford Street and the West End are hardly touched though. So, how class conscious is this series of riots and lootings of the last days? In the incident list of  The Guardian I find only one example that associates with class differences and direct confrontation, suddenly coming to an outburst. The target is a kind of chique restaurant (two Michelin stars), attacked on Monday , “The Ledbury” in Kensington. The Guardian database record for this one reads: “Gang broke into the Michelin-star restaurant wearing hoodies, masks, and with random weapons. The rioters smashed up the place and diners were forced to hide in the cellar as rioters targeted them for theft.”

To give myself some understanding of the settings of this awkward disruption of an evening outing, I check out the web on this particular restaurant and  find the following description, that curious enough, also points to the recent ‘class shift’ the of the neighbourhood where the assault took place – Nothing Hill:

 Don’t be fooled by the name [“The Ledbury”, named after the street; Tj.] , which should belong to an unassuming gastropub. Nigel Platts-Martin and Philip Howard’s venture is a very serious restaurant. This is the kind of food that aims to draw a round of applause before it’s even been tasted, where sauces are poured in complex geometries, where slender towers of ingredients appear more like architects’ models than food, and where familiar-sounding ingredients have foamed, crushed and pureed beyond any hope of recognition. Before gentrification, this part of Notting Hill used to be known as ‘crack square’. The Ledbury has replaced this trade with food that’s better than any drug, but at prices that will bankrupt you faster than the most ferocious addiction.

For the rest I can see very few examples of a possible low class versus high class rebellion. The old bastion of high class shopping Harrods – “Luxury beauty and fragrance, fashion accessories, gifts” – in Regent Street has – as far as I can ascertain – not been looted. Seeing the burnt out local shopping streets and hearing the fate of those who could flee in time their homes, those that had their shops or workplaces smashed, makes it hard to explain away the riots just on the wide class divide the UK always had and has not been able to level or soften. Social discontent finds its way of expression here in extreme a-social and life threatening deeds.

The imagination of a possible future change of power relations seems mostly absent within the circle of rioters. It is all ‘here and now’. The classical pattern of first smashing goods and property in a furry and next trying to take possession of them, was present here. Goods that can be carried away changed owner, property that is unmovable was set on fire. A ‘jacquerie à l’anglaise’, spontaneous, violent and politically unconscious. An unstructured rise of the lower classes, fed by vengeance and want. Hitting around you and hurting your neighbour. The nearest by – half a step higher – class on the long British social ladder, singled out as target. Neighbourhood stores and community facilities fell victim first. The idea of some sort of minimal solidarity within a neighbourhood  of similar social content, drowned by a single incident:  “A young man shot at Warrington Road, Croydon junction with Dupass Hill” (the first line in the Guardian 2011 Riot database). A young man, of 27 years, named Mark Duggan, a father of four children, killed in Tottenham – North East London – by a police officer who halted and wanted to control him, who is said to have felt threatened, and fired.

The  subsequent confrontation with the police during a demonstration protesting this killing by a police man, ignited the smoldering discontent in this North London neighbourhood. The series of riots that sprang from there on, were mostly outside of  Central London. One may recall the very different street violence when half a million protesters marched through Central London in March 2011 during the London Anti-Cuts Protest. At that time there were a few  violent actions aside of the main peaceful demonstration, a phenomenon that can often been seen in the margin of any big demonstration. That violence was different from the August riots now. In March unruly more political oriented groups targeted ‘symbols of the capitalist system’, located in the West End of London. Window panes in Oxfords street were smashed, Banks graffitied , the Ritz Hotel hurled with firework and a bonfire was started in the heart of the London shopping district at Oxford Circus.

Splurge with Londons High Class Shopping Scene
, one can read when searching for shopping fun in the world:  “Without much question, London ranks as one of the most famous in the world as a high-class shopping destination. Tourists never fail to miss this city in their itineraries upon having a tour or vacation in England or in Europe. Shops and goods in this city are all lovely, spectacular, and really worth buying and keeping.”

Overview zoom from interactive GoogleMap on the 2011 summer riots by The Guardian as published 9. August 2011; the central parts of London are hardly effected.

The list of London’s low class riot shopping as can be curled from The Guardian’s UK Riot Locations database, is less spectacular than what the tourist board of London promises to affluent tourists from abroad. It is the regular high street shop chains with sport shoes, cheap clothing, mobile phones, house electronics and the like that were favoured by the looters. The class-devide reigns so strong in the UK that the imagination of revolting youth did not even led them venture in the more classy central districts where the luxurious shops and high end brands of  London can be found. It is very similar to what in the year 2005 could be observed during the suburban risings in France and especially the ones around the centre – the banlieu – of Paris. The violence  was – at that time – confined to the suburbs proper. No window smashing or car burning at the most exclusive shopping areas of Paris at Place de Vendôme or Saint Sulpice.

Map of suburban riots around Paris in November 2005 as published by Wikipedia. The inner town of Paris is not effected by the lower class risings and car burning.

The Guardian  map of all the incidents shows that it was not only suburban low income areas, where the looting takes place. There have been some examples of ‘high street’s with shops in more affluent areas, like for example in the City of Westminster near  St. John’s Wood. But in general it is the poorer areas that are most effected.

Stripping the data in alphabetical order, here is my first raw list of ‘places’ which are often shops where incidents took place. The number of occurrences with the same place name are indicated by my small script. Now there are not so many shops that have been targeted more than once, let me list them first.

Argos 6 x
Boots 2 x
Currys 3 x
Foot Locker 3 x
H&M 2 x
Halfords 2 x
JD Sports 6 x
Jessops 2 x
McDonalds 2 x
O2 2 x
Primark 2 x
Sainsburys 2 x
Tesco Express 2 x

This is the list of all places (171 in total including the beginning of the riots with a shooting incident, some mention of fire (brigade) facilities, police stations and so on:

A young man shot at Warrington Road, Croydon junction with Dupass Hill 1 x

Abbotsford Dr 1 x

Adidas store 1 x

Admiral Street Police Station 1 x

Aldi supermarket 1 x
Boots 2 x

Arena Shopping Park 1 x

Argos 6 x

Ashley Road 1 x

Austin Reed 1 x

Barclays 1 x

Betfred 1 x

Big Green Bookshop 1 x

Bishop Street 1 x

Blockbuster 1 x

Bookies 1 x

Boots 2 x

Brazas Restaurant 1 x

Brent 1 x

Bromley South rail station 1 x

Bullring shopping centre 1 x

Burger King 1 x

Bus 2 x

Bus and police cars 1 x

Cabot Circus 1 x

Cabot Circus shopping centre 1 x

Camden Lock 1 x

Carpetright shop 1 x

Carphone Warehouse 3 x

Cash Converters 1 x

Catford 1 x

Chalk Farm 2 x

Chatham 1 x

Church Street 1 x

Clarence convenience store 1 x

Clarks shoe shop 1 x

Colmore Row 1 x

Comet 1 x

Cornwall street 1 x

Currys 3 x

Cyber Candy 1 x

Dalston Kingsland Centre 1 x

Dean Street 1 x

Debenhams 1 x

Design studio 1 x

Duppas Hill Road 1 x

Ealing Broadway station 1 x

Eldon Street, Chatham 1 x

Fire engine 3 x

Foot Locker 3 x

Game 1 x

Gas main 1 x

Gay’s The Word 1 x

Gillingham 1 x

Gloucester Road 1 x

Gowthorne Street, New Basford 1 x

Grove Street 1 x

H&M 2 x

Hackney Town Hall 1 x

Halfords 2 x

Haringey Magistrates Court 1 x

Harringay Arena Shopping centre 1 x

Harveys 1 x

Haven Green 1 x

High Street

London E17 7JS 1 x

HMV 1 x

Independent phone shop 1 x

Independent Sports shop 1 x

Jamaica Inn 1 x

Jamie’s Italian 1 x

JD Sports 6 x

Jessops 2 x

Kelham Green 1 x

Kelmscott secondary school 1 x

Kilburn High Road 2 x

Kings College Hospital 1 x

Ladbrokes 1 x

Lavender Hill 1 x

Lewisham Town Centre 1 x

London Road 1 x

Luther Close 1 x

Maidstone Road Chatham 1 x

Mare Street 1 x

McDonalds 2 x

Minicab 1 x

Miss Selfridge 1 x

Montacute road 1 x

Monument Way 1 x

Mothercare 1 x

Myrtle Parade 1 x

National Express Bus 1 x

New Street, Chatham 1 x

Norwood Road 1 x

O2 2 x

Old Kent Road 1 x

Orange shop 1 x

Oxford Circus 1 x

Pallasades Shopping Centre 1 x

Pawn shop 1 x

PC World 1 x

Pembury Estate 1 x

Phones4U 1 x

Police car 2 x

Portland Square 1 x

Post Office 1 x

Primark 2 x

Princes Road, Princes Avenue 1 x

Pure Gym 1 x

Pym Street 1 x

Rainham 1 x

Reeves furniture store 1 x

Richer Sounds 1 x

Ripple Road 1 x

Rye Lane 1 x

Sainsburys 2 x

Salford 1 x

Savers 1 x

Shopkeepers 1 x

Smithdown Road, junction with Lodge Lane 1 x

Sony Distribution Centre 1 x

Square Peg pub 1 x

St Anns Police Station 1 x

Station Road 1 x

T-Mobile 1 x

T-Mobile London – Palmers Green 1 x

Tandem Centre retail park 1 x

Tesco 2 x

Tesco Express 2 x

The Broadway 1 x

The Ledbury 1 x

Thomas Sabo jewellers 1 x

Topshop 1 x

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club 1 x

Tottenham Police Station 2 x

Upper Parliament Street 1 x

Vodafone shop 1 x

West Bromwich High Street 1 x

WH Smith 1 x

Wolverhampton 1 x

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