Buy Nothing Day this year saw the Hijackers calling for a TopShop SwapShop.
In the light of the governments calls for people to spend our way out of a recession with rampant consumerism, we thought it might be better to look at what we're spending all our hard earnt cash on. Our highstreets promote fast changing fashion produced in sweatshop conditions, poisoning cotton farmers and creating endless landfill, all this aside from the depression caused by the blanket advertising asking people to max out their credit and fit to airbrushed examples of humanity.
The TopShop SwapShop was an attempt to create a space of free exchange within one of the cathedrals of consumption, a place were people could trade unwanted goods for new ones without the baggage of big business. Unfortunately the boss's of TopShop and the Metropolitan Police had other ideas..
On the 29th of November, in the middle of Oxford Street's
slick and impersonal pre-Christmas rush of mindless buying, we decided
to make a little space where we and anyone who wanted to join us could
take a break from the stress of all the buying and selling and prove that
we don't need or particularly want it. Welcome to Topshop Swapshop!
We met a short while before the event
started to give out flyers to passers by, many of whom were thrilled at
the prospect of free clothes in Topshop. "Free clothes giveaway!
Meet at TopShop today at 2pm". Ok, perhaps we could have been slightly
more specific on the nature of the free clothes.
Various burly men with ear pieces were hanging around the ladies knitwear section, and we had a feeling that perhaps Security and the Police were waiting for us. "No bare flesh" we were warned as the burly security guards caught a cheeky glimpse of agent Dub Foundation's nipple! Despite a quick cover-up, this was obviously too much for Topshop sensibilities. Agent Dub Foundation was escorted up the escalator by about six security guards and police, handily drawing a huge amount of attention to our activities. Thanks guys!
The police had decided to round up
the naughty swappers and were demanding names and addresses of people
as potential organisers. I was being held against a wall by a very eager
officer, keen to find out all about me.
I returned to the crowd of swappers
after being told that I had been banned from Oxford Street and Regent
Street for the next 24hrs. Our band of newly re-styled hijackers then
hooked up with the wonderful Rhythms Of Resistance Samba Band who were
holding an impromptu gig on Carnaby street. More swappers were turning
up my the minute and so the disrobing began again. Meanwhile various other
Hijackers nipped off for a swift pint in the nearby Red Lion.
Hazily we all eventually woke up in the morning, scattered all over London in the wrong beds, wearing someone else's clothes and with big grins on our faces.
until next time...