Sunday, 22 February 2009


...ultimately it is in the streets that power must be dissolved: for the streets where daily life is endured, suffered and eroded, and where power is confronted and fought, must be turned into the domain where daily life is enjoyed, created and nourished.

The street is an extremely important symbol because your whole enculturation experience is geared around keeping you out of the street... The idea is to keep everyone indoors. So, when you come to challenge the powers that be, inevitably you find yourself on the curbstone of indifference, wondering "should I play it safe and stay on the sidewalks, or should I go into the street?" And it is the ones who are taking the most risks that will ultimately effect the change in society.

The road is mechanical, linear movement epitomised by the car. The street, at best, is a living place of human movement and social intercourse, of freedom and spontaneity...



...and so we had our first game of capture the flag in London, and it was good. We had no idea of how many people would turn up, consoling ourselves with the thought that even if ten of our friends turn up then we could have a small game amongst ourselves and the evening wouldn't be wasted. But over fifty people ending up gathering at the base of Nelson's Column, and so ramshackle rules were poorly explained, tribal markings were painted on faces and we all marched up to the battleground, flags flying high.

We decided on one round of an hour, and both teams ran into their respective territories to establish their bases and their gaols. The game started slow, but pretty soon both teams were fending off attacks from all sides on their flags. The Red Hearts' numbers began to be slowly choked as the Blue Lightningbolts dumped more and more of them in their gaol. Word got back to the Red Hearts base and a crackteam strikeforce managed to free enough Hearts to snatch the Lightningbolt's flag and run it back to score a point. Chaos ensued, with the prison population in Bluesville at record levels. Taking advantage of their opponents weakened defences the Lightningbolts launched a glorious raid and ran the Heart's flag back to their base in the closing minutes of the first half. A draw! BOO

Winded and sore the players reconvened on Longacre. A handful of players said goodbye and made their ways home but most stayed on for a second half, the lust for revenge burning in their lungs and legs. The teams swapped territories and established new bases and gaols. The Red Hearts, depleted by homegoers, contraversially established their base in the heavily fortified Neals Yard. In anticipation, perhaps, the Blue Lightningbolts centred their gaol around one of those portaurinal drop-pods on the farthest fringe of their territory. The shame! The humility! The lifetimes wasted there! It was quite funny though to watch the Lightningbolts who were defending their gaol try to clothesline every drunk guy who was just trying to run to do a wee, thinking he was a player attempting a jailbreak. However, the second half was a stalemate, practically trench warfare, with a couple of grabs on each side but none successful.

Regardless, everyone had had fun and the first Capture the Flag London had gone better than we'd ever dared to hope.

We've got loads of plans for other games in and around London, but the next one will be in the City, around Bank and Bishopsgate, some time in late February.

So keep your ears to the ground and your eyes on this blog for details of the next game, a provisional set of rules incorporating what we've learnt from the first game and other stuff we hope you'll be interested in. And please tell friends about the game. The more players, the more merkage!