Tonight's been memorable for me and for nearly all the wrong reasons.
I was doing a shift on the night news web desk of the Guardian in King's
Cross, which is not most people's idea of a day job but I've been doing
it for a while now. And I'd gone on my break early. So at about
10.15pm, when Twitter began to light up with horrible news from London
Bridge – shortly after a false alarm along the same lines from Turin – I
was at my desk.
My colleague and line manager Paul Gallagher was initially the only
other person there but by the time our three other colleagues returned
from their breaks a few minutes later – propelled back to their work
stations by an online news alert – he had already fielded messages from
several senior editors, including the editor-in-chief, pitching in or
offering to come in to the office.
In the next few hours the web desk filled out, reporters' offers of copy
from Borough Market a mile or so down the road were accepted and the
division of labour meant that I spent the next four hours glued to the
TV news as one of the secondary sources of information for our live blog
On one level it was electrifying stuff. But on another it was also oddly mundane.
Because any of us could have been caught up in that. On some level every
single part of the images on TV were familiar. The flashing blue lights
and armed police response from coverage of Paris, Brussels, Manchester
and beyond. And the setting because it is a part of my life, yours too I
expect. Borough Market is full of pubs, bars and restaurants that are
on the app and it's an area I know like the back of my hand. After 20
years of enjoying London's nightlife, it would be very surprising indeed
if I hadn't spent many, many hours at Borough Market. Let's face it:
the high quality of the bars and restaurants there is probably why those
unbelievable bastards picked it as their softest of soft targets.
As I write the details are still unfolding and it's already clear that
the outcome has been a diabolical tragedy. But, without at all
underestimating the impact that this will have on some people's lives,
London's had worse and so have many other places in the world. Stay
strong: a slightly braver normality is the best way to respond to
terrorism. London's night tube will continue to trundle on.
Also, by the way, fuck you, you deluded terrorist losers. No one will remember your names.
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