The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
ENO's production of La Boheme is a triumph,
I made the placard the night before the protest. It took about half an hour.
I photocopied my friend's hands, blown up for comedy effect, and mounted everything on foam board to make it 3D.
The wobbling jazz hands were attached using a spring coil from an A4 office notepad using superglue and masking tape.
The message on the placard is good because it can be used over and over again for anything as long as Cameron's in power.
It irritates me that we're basically told we can go on demonstrations as long as we don't cause any trouble.
It's as if the powers that be are saying: "We'll let you have your nice little march around for the day and then we'll cut all your services anyway."
So while I don't want to get involved in any violence myself - I think the whole polite protest thing is a bit ridiculous - I was trying to make a point about that, too.
The day itself was fantastic. One highlight was exchanging banner-waving with the comedian Josie Long. I think her placard said, "David, all artists hate you. Except Tracey Emin and you're welcome to her."
I'm not really sure if protests like this make a great deal of difference. They didn't stop the Iraq war. They didn't stop the tuition fees increase. But that won't stop me taking part.
And it's good to meet up with so many other like-minded people who believe in something strongly enough to get out and shout about it.
In terms of really making a difference, Twitter and websites such as Avaaz and 38 degrees have really come into their own.
It's easier than ever for people to make their point via these kinds of channels, which is brilliant.
But placards are definitely a prettier, wittier way to protest.