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26th April 2015

Almeida Theatre , Islington, London / Labour Party International Development Event.

The London Borough of Islington will for me always remain synonymous with the birth of New Labour in the 1990’s.

The Almeida Theatre, todays venue for a Labour Party ‘International Development’ event’, has been at the centre of Islington cultural life since the early 80’s. The theatre with its dramatic red and yellow painted stucco balconies and pillars makes for a lively backdrop as I sketch the metropolitan audience of party supporters.

Prior to the appearance of the party leader, TV star Ross Kemp introduces a roster of special guests. Labour’s Secretary of State for International Development , Mary Creagh is followed by Baroness Amos and actresses Emily Berrington and Adjoa Andoh. With quite a lot of squinting I try to make some drawings of the speakers from a dark aisle in the stalls.

After Ed Milliband’s speech a small crowd wait in the foyer. I notice the former labour leader Neil Kinnock at the theatre bar and make a drawing of the scene. Ross Kemp is ordering a drink at the far end so I add him to the design as a quick crayon squiggle.

I try to make a picture of a fleeting moment when a young woman places her palm on the labour leaders chest as her and a friend speak with him. Like a lot of these rapid sketches it ends up looking not a lot like Ed Milliband but does capture the sentimental moment.

 

Labour party International Development Event

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 3.Labour  Launch 'steeled sinews'    2. Labour  Launch ' Dynamic lecturn-craft'    1. Labour  Launch 'Student send-off'

Friday 27th March 2015

The Labour Campaign Launch : Queen Elizabeth I Olympic Park , Stratford , London.

The Labour Party launch their election campaign at the Olympic Park , Stratford . It’s a very good location , not just because it’s near my studio.

The wide pedestrian avenues that lead from Stratford shopping centre to the ArcelorMittal tower are deserted though there’s possibly someone in the ‘Top Gear Experience’ simulator. It’s ‘Stig’ adorned cabin jerks back and forth .

There are a couple of chaps carrying heavy tripods in the distance, a good sign that a ‘media-event’ is nearby.

At the top of the tower an impressive panorama of London is the backdrop to the Labour leader’s lectern. The members of the opposition are to enter  through a well ordered phalanx of casually dressed  students.

I have time to make a few sketches of the labour supporters getting in position. In my sketch I try  to include  the white lines on the floor that have been laid out to help choreograph the event. The viewing gallery is not a huge space and is soon packed.

Ed Milliband is introduced by an NHS nurse, Agnes Brown. She is wearing a flattering rose coloured  chiffon scarf which will stand out nicely in the middle of my sketch when I come to add colour. Even more so will Tessa Jowell in vivid tangerine.

I draw Ed Milliband in his characteristic forward jutting , lectern hugging pose and include  a yellow crane behind him.

The red steel of the Mittal tower appears in the window behind the leader of the opposition like a big red cross, a mark on the ballot paper or symbol of something else?

I meet a labour supporter outside called Simeon. I’d drawn him earlier in his smart blue tailored suit and tweed cap, alone on the canal side.

I show him the drawing, he says he looks lonely so I draw him again as part of the band of banner wavers who, under the big red oxide cloche at the base of the tower, cheer the members of the shadow cabinet onto their windowless battle bus and into the yellow crane lined electioneering battlefield.

The Labour Party Campaign Launch

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