I was involved in a 'Hue and Cry' this Thursday afternoon at Trafalgar Square. (A Hue and Cry is a mob in hot pursuit of an individual.)
My Sherlock Holmes walking tour had ended at the Sherlock Holmes pub below Trafalgar Square where I left my student group, then I headed home up Northumberland Street for the No 9 bus.
Tearing down the street towards me comes this terrified young guy with blood streaming out of his nose and after him at least two dozen other young guys. The pursuers are laughing.
I put my best defensive rugby right shoulder to the fore and hunker in against the trunk of a street tree in a street which is suddenly full of violent young men who aren't interested in me or any other pedestrian, but only in each other.
Bringing up the rear are three red-faced MET Community police with radios to the fore and already you can hear the sirens approaching.
Once the tsunami has passed I head up the street to Trafalgar Square where there are crocodiles of amiable German football fans wandering along.
So random. So London.
Later, at home the tutor of my student group calls me to say that no sooner had they got into the Sherlock Holmes pub than there was a stabbing outside and one of the bar staff had his bicycle stolen. The students thought this was a suitably dramatic end to a walking tour about Sherlock Holmes.
There were 19 arrests and three stab victims. No one was killed.
Now it seems the fighters were teenage gangs of London Kosovans squaring up to each other on Facebook, and choosing Trafalgar Square as their battle zone probably because it's high profile. Afterwards they would boast about it on FB.
The thing about Facebook is it's here to stay, it's good and it's bad and we have to find a way to live with it.