‘Southend Shakedown’ – Southend-on-Sea, Essex – 28 March 2016

The ‘Shakedown’ is a mass meeting of motorcyclists along the promenade of the Essex seaside town on the Easter Monday bank holiday, traditionally the first outing of the year after the winter – hence ‘Shakedown’. This, the seventeenth running of the event, almost didn’t go ahead in its usual format. A jump in the fee requested by Essex Police to the Ace Cafe, who have organised the run in recent years, saw them pulling out after deciding that they could not afford this fee for a free event from which they gain little income. Most of the bikers vowed to still make the run regardless, but a collection of local traders led by Grumpy’s Diner came forward to pay the fee to secure the policing at the event. In the end it was Storm Katie that had a final say in the size of the event with many bikers choosing not to take the risk, leaving the reserved western area of the seafront empty. Thousands of bikers did still make the journey, many arriving later than normal once the storm front had passed through.

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RAF’s 98th Birthday Display – Horse Guards Parade – 2 April 2016

To celebrate the ninety-eighth anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force three aircraft from the RAF Museum were positioned in front of the Admiralty Extension (often referred to as the Old Admiralty) on Horse Guards Parade. The Typhoon is a mobile replica usually to be seen at the likes of the Farnborough International Airshow, and the Spitfire LFXVIe ‘TB675’ (actually RW393) and Sopwith Snipe are exhibits briefly allowed out from the RAF Museum at Hendon. The anniversary event took place on the Friday 1 April, which was also used to promote the build up to the centenary in 2018. The images here depict various stages of the aircraft’s removal the following day.

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International Pillow Fight Day – Kennington Park, London – 2 April 2016

International Pillow Fight Day is a global event taking place in many capital cities around the world. London’s has become an annual event and is organised by Focal Local, a group aiming to promote positive social action in the community through encouraging total strangers to interact with each other and participate in such events. Originally planned to take place in Trafalgar Square as it has for many years, that location was ‘double-booked’ by the council with the London Games Festival. Green Park was initially chosen as an alternative venue, but that too had to be scrubbed after intervention by the Royal Parks. Kennington Park was chosen as a final alternative but the authorities were clearly out to stop the event as there was a large police presence, with pillow-wielding people being spoken to. Unfortunately the messages didn’t get through, so there were small groups having their own pillow fights in both of those canceled locations. The planned ‘kick-off’ time in Kennington had passed and it did look as if the main London event wouldn’t go ahead, but eventually the numbers had reached a size that gave enough confidence for a few people to defy the heavy-handed tactics and soon hundreds of people were joining in. The people pictured below are total strangers meeting for the first time and having enormous, harmless fun. The reasoning behind the attempts to stop it remain unclear.

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London Games Festival – Trafalgar Square – 2 April 2016

A large Monopoly board has been set up in Trafalgar Square as part of the London Games Festival. The public can play on the board using a mobile phone ‘app’. As well as some of the familiar game squares, travelling around the board gives the players a history lesson in many of the various key moments in computing and gaming.

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