LIGHTEN our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all Perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
The 'Collect for Aid against Perils' from the Book of Common Prayer seems a good prayer for Street Angels. We started with it on Friday night. The language maybe a bit ancient, but the sentiment is real. In fact it seemed strangely appropriate as we went out and encountered Vampires and Witches, the Living Dead, Zombies, frightened teenagers dripping blood, Cruella Deville, and men with capes and sinister 'Scream' masks. It was of course the Halloween Party at Schism Rock Club at the Quake Nightclub. We were told that 650 people were inside. As I said the language of the BCP seems to fit the Gothic nature of the night.
What was particularly entertaining was seeing the 'smoking cage' outside the night club on the pavement, opposite the car park full of such characters It looked like they had all been captured in some sort of a police round up.
You can watch a video of the Foam Party at Schism (featured on the Schism Rock Club website) to get an idea of the electric atmosphere, Or click the YouTube link below
If you go to their Twitter page there is a link to a Facebook photo album with 169 pictures from Friday night's Halloween Party.
In fact there were no problems from the Rocky Horror Show itself. Everyone seemed happy enough inside and made their way home afterwards At least we didn't see any trouble. I don't know if the police had to deal with anything.
Otherwise it was a fairly 'normal night' Outside Lights were on duty under the Station Canopy from 10-12 giving out tea and coffee and an opportunity to chat. There were just 5 angels on duty, so we went around in 2 groups. There were drunks vomiting near NatWest. One a soldier looked after by two mates and a younger man who was eventually picked up by his parents (I can just imagine breakfast conversation the next day!) The other team stayed with them until it all settled down. We spend time with 'Bruce Forsyth' as we called him, wobbling his way home after a night out at O'Neils where there had been a live band. He could hardly walk straight but we had a good long chat (at times quite philosophical) with an nice, if somewhat lonely 75 year old. He was very local, so no problem getting himself home.
And there was noise and verbal abuse. a lady trowing punches at people. Everything is watched carefully on CCTV and communicated by Radios. I don't think punters always realise that. We spend a lot of time keeping an eye on a young woman in a tight black skirt and orange high heels who was having a raging argument with an abusive boyfriend. It started in BED Bar and seemed to encompass most of Chertsey Road and the parallel street where the buses and taxis are. Standing by and keeping watch isn't always appreciated ("Who the %*@* do you think you are! %*@* off! ") but there is little more that you can do. We stayed around until they went their separate ways in Taxis.
I am full of admiration for the Taxi Drivers who exhibit so much patience and politeness in the face of some very mixed behaviour to say the least. Sure, they get paid for it, but they also put up with an aweful lot.
Do Street Angels actually have any effect by their presence on the streets at night? That was a question we asked ourselves. I have absolutely no idea of the actual effect, but we do have some significant conversations and sometime we even seem to be in the right place at the right time.
And there again you get to see the urban foxes on the streets of Woking in the darkness of the night. And I don't mean the ones in fancy dress costumes... We spotted a pair by Christchurch when we were going out at 10pm. And as we were leaving, by the Y-Pod at 4am.
Other Blogs about Street Angels:
February 2011 Good Samaritan
March 2011 Friday night in Woking
April 2011 Out with the Angels
June 2011 Angels in the Town Square
July 2011 Putting Angels into Ev-angel-ical
August 2011 Worn to be wild