|Fern (by me on the left,|
by Richard on the right)
There is no one about when we arrive at 10.30am. The vegetable plots, formerly civic flower beds, are suffocated with weeds. A metal bowl of half-eaten cold lentil something is on a table in the front of the devastated kitchen tent.
A few occupiers emerge from tents in search of sausages. Richard sees how agitated souls are supporting each other and is quietly aghast but compassionate: 'It fulfils a social need, I suppose, and gives the people here something to do,' he says.
|Spyro by me|
There are some altruistic and motivated individuals in Occupy who have endured ghastly camp conditions: 'The mud is worse than the cold,' says one. Tammy, who was the named defendant in the lawsuit to evict the Occupy camp from St Paul's, is still not fully aware of her instinctive powers of creative leadership, and would be running something rather important if she'd had Richard's or my education opportunities.
|Spyro by Richard|
Another one turns to me. 'Will you draw me for my mum?'
Tigger took part in a group action against banks in the City the previous day, running into the reception areas of glossy buildings to leave stickers or, as one occupier put it, 'We xxxxing terrorised some evil corporations... We want these bastards to be hoping that they don't see us again, to fear us.'
Tigger is dutifully polite about my drawing and very excited by Richard's: 'That's sick, man!' He rounds up his comrades to look. 'Banging!' (Richard's are the drawings on white paper.)
|Tigger by me|
'What do you say?' I ask.
'Can you spare a few coins,' he says.
He comes back a bit later.
'How much did you get?' I ask.
'Nothing. I think I'll go back to sleep for a bit.'
I wonder if I could draw five passers-by for a pound each on his behalf, but I fall into Occupy torpor and don't do anything about it.
|Tigger by Richard|
'Does anyone know how to tie a hangman's noose?' asks Tom, aka Johnny Teatent.
'Ask Charlie or Fern,' responds another Occupier automatically.
'Why do you want to know?' I ask.
He wants to hang bankers in effigy from the trees in Finsbury Square.
I'm hoping to see E, Occupy's answer to Clint Eastwood, but I'm told that he's in hospital: he broke both feet and will be unable to walk without aid for up to a year, having jumped down from the column in Paternoster Square after briefly occupying it. I text him to commiserate and he texts back: 'Yeah my feet hurt but worth it.'
Richard and I sit on a squishy sofa in the sunshine. We are, briefly, the public face of Occupy. A cheerful group of men with paunches shout at us from the other side of the road: 'Oi, gerra job!' Richard has enjoyed a long and successful career as an artist, teacher, cartoonist, caricaturist and illustrator, and has worked for most of the broadsheets; he spends up to three months a year in France, where he has a studio. This autumn sees the publication of his book Portrait of a French Village.
|Charlie by Richard|
A drawing can say more than a photograph. 'And it can be a map of time,' Richard says, 'as the drawing takes place over time.'
Someone brings over an Evening Standard: BANK WARNS OF A EUROZONE STORM.
Richard takes a last look round the camp and says, 'I think I might come back.'