The sound of the strike

Pickets, police and protestors on 30 November.

On 30 November, the UK saw the biggest strikes in a generation. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of London and other cities against a background of ongoing activist occupations and a summer of riots and civil disobedience.

The sounds you will hear in the SoundCloud below were recorded over 12 hours on that day, from 7 in the morning until 7 at night. We start with Occupy London's dawn demonstration in Liverpool Street station and move on through morning pickets by electricians, journalists and health workers and an evening picket outside the Bfi. We stop to hear Paul Gilroy at a teach out in front of the London School of Economics before moving through the trade union march. The piece concludes outside Panton House where activists storm the offices of the highest paid CEO in the country. We also hear the sounds of plain clothes undercover officers being identified inside the subsequent police kettle.

The piece was recorded on binaural microphones and is best listened to on headphones which replicate the sense of space and depth.

November 30 Strike and Demonstration Soundscape by Whirring Cat  

Chris Wood is a sound artist and designer based in London. His work can be found at http://wordthecat.com

Photo: Getty
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Gordon Brown contemplated making Alastair Campbell a minister

The move is revealed in Ed Balls' new book.

Gordon Brown contemplated making Alastair Campbell, a sports minister. Campbell had served as Tony Blair’s press chief from 1994 to 2003, Ed Balls has revealed.

Although the move fell through, Campbell would have been one of a number of high-profile ministerial appointments, usually through the Lords, made by Brown during his tenure at 10 Downing Street.

Other unusual appointments included the so-called “Goats” appointed in 2007, part of what Brown dubbed “the government of all the talents”, in which Ara Darzi, a respected surgeon, Mark Malloch-Brown, formerly a United Nations diplomat,  Alan West, a former admiral, Paul Myners, a  successful businessman, and Digby Jones, former director-general of the CBI, took ministerial posts and seats in the Lords. While Darzi, West and Myners were seen as successes on Whitehall, Jones quit the government after a year and became a vocal critic of both Brown’s successors as Labour leader, Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn.

The story is revealed in Ed Balls’ new book, Speaking Out, a record of his time as a backroom adviser and later Cabinet and shadow cabinet minister until the loss of his seat in May 2015. It is published 6 September.