Tag Archives: United Kingdom

John Ferguson – Black Britannia

30 Jun
Pioneering black Britions 

Black Britannia features striking portraits by John Ferguson, Fleet Streets first black photographer in the 1980’s, of some of the most well known – and less familiar – black men and women who have risen to the top of their chosen fields in the UK.
Under the title Black Britannia, the full exhibition comprises of 55 portraits of inspirational black Britons who inspired personally the artist in the past or who are currently making great strides in public life. Of the 55 black Britons, some well know names such as Sir Trevor McDonald, Lenny Henry, Naomi Campbell, Paul Ince, Lewis Hamilton, and others from various occupations such as head teachers to supermodels, boxers to lawyers – these are people from all walks of life.
John Ferguson has selected his favourites portraits of individuals which were first shown at London’s City Hall, and opened by the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The exhibition aims to highlighting the achievements of these individuals, by promoting a positive image of black Britons and a message to today’s black youth through these high quality aesthetic portraits. Photographer John Ferguson says:

“The aim being, first, to inspire black youth to broaden their horizons away from street life by providing non-stereotypical role models, and second, to show London at large, the incredible achievements of black individuals away from the all too frequent stereotyping of black people.”

“I believe that all too often black people are portrayed in a negative light. I want to challenge this preconception by also raising people conciseness and awareness to the contributions made to UK culture, economy and life by black Britons.”

“I’d hope to find an accessible venue that’s free to everyone, an important consideration given that part of the target audience I’d hope to attract would be disengaged youth.”

“London is a wonderful multicultural city, and many of the capital’s key strengths come from its diversity. This exhibition is a chance for the young people to become inspired by the portraits and stories of these black men and women.”

The exhibition had a very successful extended run in London, where it then moved on to Liverpool’s slavery museum for a six month run. It is currently being exhibited by Oldham Arts council, Greater Manchester.

1. Ms Dynamite R&B rapper singer/songwriter
2. Naomi Campbell supermodel
3. Nicholas Tung- first black Irish Guardsman to guard the Queen of England
4. Johnny Sarpong- Top international fashion stylist
5. Shevelle Dynott Dancer with England National Ballet
6. Billy Ocean International singer
7.Heneretta Brockway -Top international female golfer
8.Estelle- R&B singer
9.Lenny Henry- Actor and comedian
10. High Court Judge Linda Dobbs
11. Jamelia soul singer
12. David Wabso Head engineering for London Underground
13. Samantha Tross- Leading Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
14. John Coneth Ex- light heavyweight world champion boxer
15. Lewis Hamilton –  World champion F1 racing driver
16. Michael Fuller Chief Constable of Kent, British highest ranking Policeman
17. Sir Trevor McDonald- Britain’s leading Tv News Anchor man
18 Gina Yashere- One of the few leading female comedians in the UK
19.Chris Houghton The UK’s only black soccer manager
20.Courtenay Griffiths QC The UK’s leading black criminal defender Barrister

More about John Ferguson:

  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • John is an experienced documentary and environmental portrait photographer working out of London and UK. He has travelled extensively working for leading national and international newspapers and magazines as well as NGO’s. From the raise of the Aids/HIV pandemic in Africa and Asia, to feature stories from conflicts zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. John as talent for conceptualisation and delivering strong and innovative ideas and works well in a team environment, taking direction as well as working independently. His work as also covered various celebrity and high end editorial and commercial work. In 2009 John’s first solo exhibition ‘Black Britannia’ was opened by the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown at London City Hall. He is currently finishing a two year personal project which as gained interest from a leading Sunday Supplement in the UK.
  • johnferguson.co.uk
  • Exhibition: Black Britannia – Celebrating black success in the UK
  • Ferguson reveals the stories behind his pictures:

Big Brother catches the greatest drunk walk ever

12 Jun

Closed-circuit footage of one sorry sot goes viral. But just how closely monitored is the UK?

By Emma Mustich

CCTV's greatest hits

A drunk man is caught flipping over a banister closed-circuit television in London.

A closed-circuit television (CCTV) video that shows an extremely drunk man staggering home through the streets of London has taken the web by storm this week (you can watch it below). Although it’s primarily entertaining because of its sheer shock value, it also serves to illustrate the surprising — and, to many, alarming — extent of video surveillance in the U.K.

Camera coverage of London is so comprehensive that, in this particular man’s case, we can follow him from a truly cinematic variety of angles — and a full minute and a half — as he wanders further and further from the fancy Savoy Hotel, where he had been attending an awards event.

Just how closely are Brits watched? We’re often told that camera security in the U.K. is intense. A Daily Mail article from 2007 put the number of CCTV cameras in use across the kingdom at 4.2 million — “one for every 14 people and a fifth of the cameras in the entire world” — adding that this meant the U.K. was first globally in terms of the camera-to-person ratio. (“The average Londoner may be monitored by up to 300 [cameras] every day,” the Mail added at the time.) These same figures, gathered by academics a decade ago based on a study of two south London shopping streets, have been cited by the BBC and numerous other news organizations for years. However, “the only large-scale audit of surveillance cameras ever conducted” — described by the Guardian earlier this year — has recently called these numbers into question, claiming there are only about 1.85 million surveillance cameras in the country (one for every 32 residents). According to the Guardian, “the vast majority” of these cameras “are run by private companies.” It has long been said that there are hundreds of thousands of cameras in London alone.

In a useful 2008 explainer, the Independent noted that, although several high-profile cases (such as the murder of James Bulger) have been closed with the help of video footage, ultimately, “fewer than one crime in 30 is solved through CCTV.” And it doesn’t even appear to be much of a deterrent; the Independent goes on to explain:


One company that sells CCTV equipment makes the startling claim that “crime is dramatically reduced by up to 95 per cent where CCTV is installed.” If that were true, the U.K. would be most crime-free country in the world. The cameras are better at preventing low-level opportunist crime like break-ins, but are little deterrent to street violence, and they work better in semi-open spaces like car parks than in streets. Dover council introduced CCTV in 1993. After 12 years, they found that burglary in the areas covered had halved, car crime was down 87 per cent, but public disorder and crimes of violence had almost trebled.


Watch the sun’s viral video — and some other CCTV hits — here:



The wedding is a royal pain

29 Apr

A Fairytale Wedding? What Nonsense!

The wedding of William and Kate on Friday will be a joke, a hopelessly overhyped celebration of an absurdly undemocratic system, writes SPIEGEL London correspondent Marco Evers. He pities the bride for her imminent loss of freedom, and wonders why this eccentric nation continues to worship the Windsors.

The whole thing feels like an aberration of history.

It’s wrong if the head of state of a country can only come from one family. It’s wrong to furnish this clan with palaces, land and all manner of grants to spare its members the indignity of having to earn their keep and enable them to live in luxury. It is wrong to address the Windsors and, from next Friday the delightful Kate Middleton as well, as Your Royal Highness or even Your Majesty. It is wrong to see them as anything other than people made of flesh and blood, like you and I.

Millions of Britons know that. The Guardian newspaper wants to abolish the monarchy, as does the Independent and the Economist magazine. Many professors, film directors, writers, actors and politicians would like Britain to become a republic — but they remain in the minority which for years has been constant at around 18 percent of the population.

Cherie Blair, the difficult wife of the former Prime Minister Tony, once refused to curtsey in front of the old Mrs. Elizabeth Windsor, but the majority of Britons enjoy doing that, and much more, for Queen and Country. The Windsors are Europe’s most expensive royal family, but the people go on paying, without grumbling, at least as long as Queen Elizabeth remains alive. (…)

British soldiers are fighting for democracy in Afghanistan and Libya, and they fought for it in Iraq. But at home, they defend the absurdly undemocratic idea that nobody but a Windsor can be head of state. (…)

The pomp and ceremony surrounding the marriage of William and Kate is the latest expression of British eccentricity — but a large part of the world appears to be succumbing to it as well.

Yes, the carriages of gold and velvet look pretty, the bride’s train will be a sight to behold and Westminster Abbey is quite a spectacular backdrop for the ceremony. But is it really worth all the fuss? More than 10,000 journalists are descending on London. The German networks ARD, ZDF, Sat.1, RTL, n-tv and N24 will hardly be broadcasting anything else on Friday. Everyone is pretending that this spectacle is the most important and beautiful event on earth — but it is not. (…)

The whole thing feels even worse than just an aberration of history. It’s a joke.


Märchenhochzeit? Alles Quatsch!

Ist die Vermählung von William und Kate das schönste und wichtigste Großereignis auf Erden? Von wegen, meint der Londoner SPIEGEL-Korrespondent Marco Evers: Er empfindet die Trauung als völlig überschätztes Tamtam und das Königshaus Windsor als abstrus undemokratisch. Eine persönliche Abrechnung.

Das Ganze fühlt sich an wie ein Irrtum der Geschichte.

Es ist falsch, wenn nur eine Familie das Oberhaupt eines Staats stellen darf. Es ist falsch, diese Sippe mit Schlössern, Ländereien und Apanagen auszustatten, damit jeder der Ihren vor Arbeit bewahrt bleibe und im Luxus lebe. Es ist falsch, den Windsors und von Freitag an auch der reizenden Kate Middleton zu huldigen als “Eure Königliche Hoheit” oder gar als “Eure Majestät”. Falsch, sie als etwas anderes zu sehen denn als Menschen aus Fleisch und Blut, wie du und ich.

Das wissen auch Millionen Briten. Der “Guardian” will die Kronenträger abschaffen, ebenso der “Economist” und der “Independent”. Viele Professoren, Regisseure, Schriftsteller, Schauspieler und Politiker wünschen sich eine Republik – aber sie bleiben in Großbritannien eine Minderheit mit einem seit Jahren konstanten Anteil von etwa 18 Prozent.

Cherie Blair, die schwierige Frau des damaligen Premiers Tony, hat sich einst geweigert, im Angesicht der alten Mrs. Elizabeth Windsor den unterwürfigen Hofknicks aufzuführen, doch die große Mehrheit der Briten tut das gern, das und noch viel mehr, for Queen and Country. Die Windsors sind das teuerste Königshaus Europas, sie liegen dem Volk schwer auf der Tasche – doch das Volk zahlt, ohne zu murren, solange zumindest Elizabeth lebt. (…)

In Afghanistan kämpfen Briten gerade für Demokratie. In Libyen auch, ebenso zuvor im Irak. Nur daheim verteidigen sie die abstrus undemokratische Idee, dass allein ein Windsor Staatsoberhaupt werden kann. (…)

Das Tamtam um die Hochzeit von William und Kate ist nur die Zuspitzung der britischen Seltsamkeit – der jetzt aber auch noch ein großer Teil der Welt zu erliegen scheint.

Ja, die Kutschen in Gold und Samt sehen schön aus, die Schleppe der Braut wird beachtlich sein, und Westminster Abbey ist eine hübsche Traukirche. Aber ist der ganze Rummel angemessen? Mehr als 10.000 Journalisten fallen in London ein. ARD, ZDF, Sat.1, RTL, n-tv und N24 werden am Freitag kaum noch etwas anderes senden. Auch SPIEGEL ONLINE berichtet mit Liveticker und Livestream über die Hochzeit. Alle tun so, als sei dieses Spektakel das Wichtigste und Schönste auf Erden. (…)

Das Ganze fühlt sich nicht nur an wie ein Irrtum der Geschichte. Es ist ein Witz.


Schock – Kate und Williams Hochzeit bedeutungslos

Experten warnen: Die royale Hochzeit von Kate Middleton und Prinz William könnte einige Enttäuschungen bereit halten.

(…) Böse Vorahnungen

Ausgerechnet jetzt aber, wo die Aufregung allmählich ihren Siedepunkt erreicht, ist ein dunkler Schatten auf die Veranstaltung gefallen. Wie aus Hofkreisen laut wurde, könnte das große Medienereignis einige Enttäuschungen bereit halten.

Kate und William, so heißt es, werden nun doch nicht den Nahost-Konflikt beenden. Es sei auch nicht vorgesehen, dass das Paar die Mondoberfläche betrete. Während es noch widersprüchliche Informationen über das geplante Stopfen des japanischen Atomlecks gibt, gilt es als relativ sicher, dass die königliche Hochzeit den Hunger in der Welt beenden könnte. Oder zumindest den der geladenen Gäste.

Bei einigen unabhängigen Beobachtern hat sich inzwischen sogar die Meinung durchgesetzt, dass die Hochzeit von Kate und William komplett bedeutungslos für große Teile des Universums sein könnte. Allerdings widersprechen nicht nur Vertreter der Gedenkteller-Industrie energisch.

Führende Wissenschaftler gehen davon aus, dass Kates streng geheim gehaltenes Hochzeitskleid Krebs heilt, Gaddafi zum Abdanken zwingt und Knut wiederauferstehen lässt.


Piped Music:

God save the queen
The fascist regime
They made you a moron
Potential H-bomb

God save the queen
She ain’t no human being
There is no future
In England’s dreaming

Don’t be told what you want
Don’t be told what you need
There’s no future, no future,
No future for you

God save the queen
We mean it man
We love our queen
God saves

God save the queen
‘Cause tourists are money
And our figurehead
Is not what she seems

Oh God save history
God save your mad parade
Oh Lord God have mercy
All crimes are paid

When there’s no future
How can there be sin
We’re the flowers in the dustbin
We’re the poison in your human machine
We’re the future, your future

God save the queen
We mean it man
We love our queen
God saves

God save the queen
We mean it man
And there is no future
In England’s dreaming

No future, no future,
No future for you
No future, no future,
No future for me