47. Last Orders
As soon as Boris announced the ban of drinking on public transport, it felt like everyone had the same idea of a drinking party on the tube. The more organised of us set up Facebook events, and the most popular of these parties self-propelled their numbers into the thousands, till everyone knew about ‘Last round on the underground’.
So last night, the fantastic party happened, with an estimated 10,000 revellers. And whilst it was brilliant fun, and people had a great time, there was trouble. 17 arrests, 6 underground stations were closed and 7 staff assaults.
I went along to Liverpool Street Station for a bit, and saw our friends from Talk On The Tube (Tott), but left early, not wanting chip my nail polish. Neil from Tott got loads of pictures. He told me how the atmosphere was one of camaraderie and fun; everyone was merrily chatting to each other, sharing drinks and laughing.
By 9pm, because of the sheer volume of people on the platform, the station was closed, and authorities moved everyone out of the tube station and in to the main concourse of the train station.
It was at this point there was a potential for things to turn ugly, when an over zealous policeman was a bit too forceful with a few partiers. Instead of getting aggressive too, some revellers started filming his actions on their phones, which weirdly calmed him.
Then later, Neil saw some people vandalising the posters in the carriage, to which pretty much everyone else there stopped them, by saying "come on, that is not what this is all about at all."
Now, if this sort of thing happened 5 years ago, it would have been pretty different. Firstly, we wouldn’t have had the numbers, as it was clearly social networks that facilitated this, but also, we possibly wouldn’t have had the same happy, friendly atmosphere – that felt safe and fun.
The trouble that happened seemed more to do with the numbers – not aggressive troublemakers spoiling for a fight.
So actually, whilst the assaults and arrests are awful, and the disruption a right old pain, ‘the night of mayhem’ wasn’t too bad. After all, this party was absolutely inevitable. TfL, BTP and Boris were all very much aware of this.
By Liz Akers