Natasha Grzincic and Alex Nunns. Some of us spicier Red Peppers have been staying at the campsite provided by Edinburgh Council, the Jack Kane community centre in Craigmillar, apparently Scotland's fourth most deprived area (and that IS deprived). Thanks to Dissent!'s negotiations with council, the site's free, but last night we paid the price in the form of forced exposure to 120 decibels of the worst house music in the world... ever.
Scare stories of a Gleneagles-style steel fence with watch towers and CCTV put off the 15,000 people expected; only a few thousand made it on site and were greeted by friendly local kids and smiley security guards (and only a mesh fence more like foil than steel). Even the most hardened anarchists could be spotted - they squatted an Edinburgh park until police politely asked them to move on to the campsite.
As far as Red Pepper is concerned, we will permit some infringement of our civil liberties in exchange for hot showers, flush toilets and a slim chance that our stuff will still be around by the end of the week. On Saturday night, Free Party People arrived on a mission to party non-stop for three weeks. They did a damn good job, with the sound system blistering from their wedding-style marquee to the far reaches of the site to the wee hours of the morning. Curfew was supposed to be 12am, but was not enforceable by the 24-hour security who would not intervene in 'intra-camp disputes'.
At 3am a determined group of campers tried to smash the generator with wooden sticks, which resulted in temporary intermissions to the show, only to be filled with sounds of resistance, bongoes and a harmonica. 'How are we supposed to do direct action when we can't fucking sleep?' screamed one camper. 'This is fucking torture!' The masses from beneath their canvasses began a coordinated chant, 'We want to sleep! We want to sleep!' The music finally died at around 5am to be replaced by drink-fuelled discussion on the state of Palestine.
This morning, after many negotiations, it was decided that if this 'entertainment' was repeated, 200 people would turn up in a matter of minutes to burn the tent down. Red Pepper ponders, where were they last night???