First taste of Direct Action

Quite a nostagic day for me today – it rained – HARD! Such that my cycle ride round the city turned into a drenching, whilst heading for Sacre Coeur (as you do) reintroduced me to the missing Parisian link – HILLS! On returning to the digs, I am at a loss as to how to dry everything off here – looks like another trip to the lavomatique. I spent a rather embarrassingly damp hour and a half at a French Green Party ‘wake’ at their HQ – it was intended to be a bit of a party but the NF electoral successes yesterday put a dampener on things. But it was a good opportunity for me to make some good links with some of the Global Greenies here for COP21. I tell you, there are a whole lot of people really looking forward to Liverpool in 2017; possibly more than are even aware of it happening at all in the UK. This fills me with some trepidation!

So it came to pass that an Angel invited me to an ‘event’ – the ‘world premiere’ of a new pro-coal film, ‘Climate Hustle’, sponsored by the Heartland Foundation. I say ‘pro-coal’ – better: anti-climate change activists. The 15-strong group, all from Melbourne, were pretty well-prepared; the concept being the young women dressed up as society gals, sequins and pearls, hi-vis and hard-hats, masquerading as the endangered 1%, whose profits from fossil-fuels were being undermined by misinformed amateurs (us!).

The film's Director poses with the 'endangered 1%'
The film’s Director poses with the ‘endangered 1%’

And the real-live magnates actually turned up, in their tuxedos, the coal billionaires, strutting their stuff, self-confident and brash, waving at the demonstrators and embracing the ladies (who they had come across before on several preceding actions. The ironic ‘comedy’ was important, as the security bods were not at all nice, yet the police, when they arrived, were quite calm, as it was clear this was just a ‘harmless stunt’.

Smile! The Revolution will be televised!
Smile! The Revolution will be televised!

No-one asked, so I’ll tell you: the sponsored concert at the Trianon last Friday was a complete sensation! Along with some memorable cameo slots from acts I have not come across before, Patti Smith was mesmerising. I seem to have known her and her music for ever but I had no idea of the depth and quality of her voice and her charismatic stage persona – she was magnetic. Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein are the consummate hosts, not a wasted or even repeated word. The whole packed auditorium was awaiting Thom Yorke and he let no-one down. Oh, the bonus of being in a big city: you don’t get stimulating entertainment like this in Bishops Tawton …….

It seems that the UK contingents are beginning to arrive, starting with some good friends tomorrow – and fellow-cyclist Roger returns with the FoE troops on Friday. So I’ll be off to Le Bourget a.m. Might meet the Bishop again – this time, I’ll have a report with me.