Episode 12 - Haw's Law

Not an anti war protester but a peace campaigner. Meet Brian Haw, A hobo hero that demands you listen to what he has to say.

For five years he has slept outside the houses of parliament under a piece of plastic. He tells those with the power things they don't want to hear. Tired and horse he has upset the government so much, they created a law just for him.

Reluctantly famous he sits on his island and conducts interviews with the world on his mobile phone. At the same time in Mexico priests throw bricks at the windows of radio stations in an attempt to quiet his harsh words.

Listen and watch the mpeg

Listen to the mp3

Visit Brian's website at http://www.parliament-square.org.uk/

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Citizen S said...

That was a fantastic interview. He's a fascinating man. I wish we had someone so devoted to the anti-war cause here in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

Great podcast Brian! I thought the two hacks taking cheap shots at the end were a bit much.:)

Why didn't you tell Brian you thought he was some kind of sad homeless nutter before you got him to promote what turned out to be a gutless podcast Christian? I give you guys credit for having the nouse to interview someone far more interesting than either of you, but you shot yourselves in the head at the end.

Why you had to spend the last 10 mins trying to downplay the issues Brian raises, and painting him as some kind of sad nutter, after you stood there with your mic switched on for the whole time, I don't know.

Why do you think I was listening to your show? Brians struggle is a a lot more compelling to me than anything you appear to be doing by running him down.

Sorry Christian. Props for the idea and all, (and your sweeps are really good), but I felt really flat when I hear what you did at the end. Still your opinion, and you are entitled to it.

Christian said...

Hi Dvox,

Thank you for taking the time to comment on the podcast.

Leaving in all the bits that made me feel shitty was not an easy thing to do. But I did it because it would have been easy to edit them out and above all I wanted a truthful reflection of my state of mind after such an 'interview'.

Documentally is just that after all. Unfortunately it is out of emotional context now as I edited on the same day and there is a lot you don't hear.

Flat is how I felt also. Hence the knee jerk reaction at the end. But I/we did not disagree with anything he said.

I am guessing that you have not met Brian in the flesh. That was my third lengthy visit. With all the faces that come and go I guess he did not remember me the first two times. That bothered me a bit as I thought we had spent quality time and that I had supported him enough in the past for me at least to be remembered as a friendly face.

I travelled down to London perhaps a little more expectant than I should have. I had some questions in my mind that I really wanted to ask but in the end after the initial barrage of abuse.. of which you only heard a tiny fraction, I thought sod it.. let him speak. Having been to Iraq (Phil has spent years there) not alot of what he was saying was new to us. I still felt it important to let him reiterate and reiterate again and again all the things he wanted to say.

He always has many good points to make and things that need to be said. But the person behind it all is really hard to deal with and after three hours of ranting and being the butt of abuse I challenge anyone present not to think similar thoughts to what I had. The respect for his message will always be there. But I found it difficult to respect the man as he continually disrespected me. This soon wears off. You can't just have a conversation with Brian. It doesn't work like that. I told him time and time again that I was doing this so he could get his message out, but he still thought I was in it for the money. He has no idea I travel all over at my expense to take photos for serious news I think needs to be out there. He is faced day in, day out with mindless local hacks asking stupid questions so I am not really surprised in the way he treated us off, and sometimes on mike.

I have sent him the cd of the interview, as he requested he wanted all of his sound bites to use elsewhere. I will no doubt be back to see him and offer my support but I won't be interviewing him again. He wants people to just sit and listen. And that is fair enough..

I am sorry you were left feeling disappointed at the end of the podcast. But that is the way it went. So was I. Later, in the edit when I had to subject myself to the same abuse again, I thought sod it... What i feel now is nothing in the grand scheme of what Brian is talking about. It's a crazy fucked up world at the moment and I don't see it getting any better for a long while yet.

thanks for listening.

Anonymous said...

"Hi, thanks for the email and your thoughts etc. There's no point in getting into an explanation for the comments at the end: maybe they were all cheap shots, maybe there were considered opinions: more likely it was all a mix of both, given that Brian doesn't talk with or to you, but at you. That's irritating no matter what the speaker's motives, regardless of whether they are heads of state or drunken bums. It's too mechanical.

In many ways a 'conversation' with Brian is like a conversation with the speaking clock when you already know the time: it gets old fast to hear the same thing over and over. Have you ever listened to a politician talking, without interruption, for two hours? That's what Brian is, of a slightly different type. He's a recorded speech on permanent loop, he's a man buried alive in a circle of the same words.

Which isn't to question the (clearly) laudable goals of trying to open our eyes to the consequence of war. Rather it's to note what he is or has become in attempting to do that.

The tone of the comments at the end of the podcast might also have betrayed a bit of annoyance at what can feel dangerously like Brian's holier-than-thou attitude. It's certainly enough to make a thinking person cynical that the man who professes to love all the world's children as his own children hasn't actually seen his own in God know's how long.

It seems pretty natural to wonder if a man who claims to care for all kids actually takes care of his own. Perhaps he has made a massive sacrifice, but I suspect there was more to these relationships than anything approaching a pure motive. Again, that's a problem for most people who preach - we've all got a strand of hypocrisy in us and the preachers tend to ignore their own.

Who knows? Perhaps Brian cares more than everyone else, or perhaps he thinks he cares more than everyone else. Either way, it can all get a little stuck in the throat. Especially when delivered in an ill-mannered way.

I also think there was some frustration involved because both of the hacks taking the cheap shots have actually been to Iraq. Getting lectured by someone who has never been to war on what war is like is difficult to stomach. Again, I'd underline it's not that Brain is saying the wrong things it's his demagogic style of saying them: as if you're in a lecture hall being harangued, as if he's yelling at you throw a bull-horn when you're sat next to him. It would try the patience of an angel.

Which, in a round about way, brings me to what I said I wouldn't do at the start of this email and that is explain. But lets get into that a bit: what some of the comment was intended to say was; if Brian can piss off a couple of liberal and polite reporters is he actually a good spokesman for his cause? Is he actually going to strengthen that cause, or do it ill? Or affect it in no way at all?

Probably the truth of it is that the only people who can 'stop the war' are the ones who allowed it to start. Which isn't Brian or his constituency.

Okay enough of this. Thanks again for writing."

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the podcast very much but honestly think if Brian was not a little crazy before, the time he has spent out in the open all these years must have affected his mind. The things he says are enough to make anyone 'crazy' but I can see past that and think the message is more important than the person behind it.

If he had spoke like that to me though, I would have been too scared to last longer than a minute or so.

Anonymous said...

cool interview. good points made. you have to let a guy like that flow. there must be alot in his head. i don't pity him even though he sounds a bit mad. i would definitely buy him a beer though. if he drank ;o)

Christian said...

Kudos Brian.

5 years of hard work. Only you know how hard.

Good Luck.