Brixton Riots – Don’t Blame Twitter. Blame Morrissey and St Trinians
THERE’S a lot of silliness this morning about how last night’s London riots were not caused by opportunist chavs bent on smashing things up and getting a very good deal on a new pair of Reeboks. But is it actually Twitter’s fault. The theory is that otherwise law abiding individuals heard all about the fun on the riot hashtag and suddenly morphed into anarchists bent on causing chaos in north (and a bit of south) London.
But why should the buck stop with Twitter – here are three other reasons why we saw widespread rioting last night.
1 Blackberrys – I was actually going to do a jokey post about the way in which QWERTY keyboard phones have made it so much easier for wannabe rioters to keep themselves organised. But then this lot beat me to it with a detailed examination of how Blackberry’s messenger system BBM was used by some of those rioting in Tottenham.
‘BBM as it is known, is an instant messenger system that has become popular for three main reasons: it’s fast (naturally), it’s virtually free, and unlike Twitter or Facebook, it’s private.
So what has all this got to do with the riots in Tottenham?
Well, it appears that BBM messages have been circulating since Thursday’s shooting of Duggan by the police. These have fuelled the anger of the youths that have taken to the streets. BBM was also the channel used to spread the word that the riot had started, and from what I can tell on Twitter, it appears to be the means by which communications continue to be shared.’
Blackberrys do appear to be the smartphone of choice of a certain kind of individual and it won’t be too long before the Daily Mail are calling these the BlackBerry Riots.
2 Flashmobs – Another tech innovation that certainly inspired the rioters last night. Obviously influenced by high profile flashmobs – mobile phone companies and the producers of the second St Trinians film hang your head in shame – north London’s youngster’s simply recreated a few ads with a side of shoplifting.
3 Morrissey – I can’t believe that no one has mentioned this yet. Last night Moz played Brixton Academy and finished a blistering set with a powerful high octane version of The Smiths’ classic Meat Is Murder. Within an hour or so KFC/McDonalds and Nandos had been wrecked. Are the two connected? Should we really be calling the Brixton disturbances the Vegan Riots? Were Smiths fans driven into a frenzy by images of slaughtered cattle responsible.
So blame tech companies, musicians and whoever else you like. The riots had nothing to do with people in poorer parts of London deciding to help themselves to a few freebies did it? It had nothing to do with poverty, estrangement and greed did it?
PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN PICTURES OF THE RIOT IN TOTTENHAM TAKEN SATURDAY AUGUST 6. Riot police patrol the streets in Tottenham, north London as trouble flared after members of the community took to the streets to demand "justice", after Mark Duggan, 29, was shot dead by police on Thursday.