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11 Dec 2010

Stoodent Solidarity, Market Trading and Seasonal Mayhem

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There's an energetic and urgent movement in the UK at the moment, made up mainly of young people (many, too young to vote, even) who are literally fighting for their future. They want an education, without a mortgage-sized debt at the end, and who can blame them?

While free education may not be a universal human right, it is a benchmark of a progressive society and a right enjoyed by those very people who have just betrayed the students by passing the latest law, increasing higher education fees to a £9,000 a year cap.

The students have responded excellently, with a sustained campaign of action, demonstrations and other forms of protest. The local-to-us Cambridge University Occupation was one of the most publicised and we felt a small gesture of solidarity would go a long way, so last Sunday, we dropped by with some War on Terrors and a big bag of balaclavas. There were happy faces, excited cries and we got our heartwarming "santa moment" (unfortunately at the expense of someone from UCL who was trying to give a talk. Sorry, UCL-man. We didn't mean to cause such a disruption).

The students we talked to were clued up, well organised and focussed on a much broader picture than just the current occupation. They talked of the sense of solidarity and support - how an atmosphere of peaceful comradeship had so easily taken hold in the occupied cafeteria and - in contrast to the 'real world' - how trusting and open people had become with their possessions, time and work. Indeed, laptops, gadgets, bags and food were dotted around the room, unattended and perfectly safe. It was nothing short of inspiring.

The Cambridge occupation has now come to an end, but hopefully everyone will continue to fight the sell-off of education; the increasing desire to commercialise every aspect of life. Education should be about more than just learning how to capitalise upon specialist knowledge. Please support them.

Speaking of commercialisation ... IT'S CHRISTMAS! ...

If we can't beat Take That, what (self) worth do we have? For most people who observe it, Christmas is a rather tacky-but-nonetheless-welcome holiday that occupies one's thoughts maybe from around the week prior to a couple of days after. However, an depressing interesting thing occurs when you're connected to retail in any shape or form and that is Christmas begins around April and only increases in intensity as the year progresses. October feels like Christmas Eve.

Somehow, despite the entire retail establishment prerparing themselves for 9 months of the year for this orgy of spending in December, everything still manages to happen last minute. It's in this maelstrom of activity that we now find ourselves ...

After last year's shopping centre shenanigans we decided to book more dates this year. We contacted over 50 shopping centres. Every single one turned us away - yes, including Lion Yard in Cambridge where we'd run a popular and successful stand just 12 months previous.

Mostly we were refused a licence because War on Terror still manages to make people lose all capability of reason. One centre, however, was honest enough to tell us that they didn't want any of their shoppers being reminded of the financial crisis and so actually objected to Crunch more than WoT.

There is plenty of evidence sadly that we are still living in a Bush-created Dark Age of ignorance and fear. One large centre in Surrey probably thought they were being everso vigilant and PC by turning us down lest we offend the heavily Muslim constituancy. In their justification, however, they revealed that their caution was just another form of biggotry: "I'm not saying they're all terrorists", they helpfully explained "but when we collected for Help for Heroes the Muslims got very upset and claimed we were raising money to attack their homeland ..."

We responded that "the Muslims"' position wasn't entirely illogical and that, if anything, they would be very fond of our game, which draws attention to the brutal absurdities of this particular war. We got no response.

So with the "high st" route once again closed to us, we're left with hitting up the markets. So far we've spent a cold and lonely day sandwiched between a TK Maxx and a disused Ice Rink in Hemel Hemsted, we've rocked the Mill Rd Winter Fair for the 3rd year running. We've also taken a trip to Camden Market (see gallery) for the first time and Brick Lane today. Back to London next weekend ... it's not a glamorous life being a market trader and bloody knackering. But we are thoroughly enjoying running into people from all walks of life who turn out to be ardent fans of War on Terror.

On top of all of this, War on Terror - Edition 2 - is imminent; we're designing a print-and-play game for Greenpeace; "the new game" continues to occupy our time and is getting more relevant by the day and Andy S also managed to balls up his PC trying to fix a virus ... but more on all of that in following blogs (apart from the virus; that's about the beginning and end of that story).

One last thing - a great, little independent chain of music, film & book stores in Bristol, Rise, are stocking War on Terror. They reported last week that WoT was second only to Take That in sales. Please, we beg you, if you're in and around the Bristol area and you're even remotely considering purchasing War on Terror this Yuletide season, please please please get it from Rise so that we can fulfil our childhood dream of having a Christmas number one. Come on, if we can't beat Take That, what (self) worth do we have?

It's become traditional in this blog to follow any "one last thing" with another "one last thing" and we'd hate to break that tradition now. So please, also check out this rather pertinent and splendid online Kettling game by Stephen Lavelle aka Increpare. Thanks.


Posted by TerrorBull Games on 11 December 2010 - 0 comments

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