Today the world watched Live8. But not me. And why? You may ask. Because I was part of it.
I woke up this morning feeling slightly groggy from the previous night of drunken debauchery, showered, dressed, threw my work clothes into my bag and headed into Edinburghs' centre. The streets were strangely silent and devoid of people. A couple of shops remained open to passing trade but most were closed for the day. Some even had the windows boarded up.
I walked into the west end of Princes St and was staggered to see row upon row of police vans packed to the rafters with bored and boiling policemen. The sun whacked into the windows of the vans and I felt almost sorry for the poor swine as they sat being slowly roasted alive.
As I approached the Meadows, a large public park here in Edinburgh, the crowds of people drifting into the area of the Make Poverty History march got denser with every step.
Walking into the Meadows I saw wave upon wave of people with banners, flags and signs calling upon the leaders of the G8 to end poverty, make trade fair and cancel the debt to the third world. I stopped for a second to take in the sight of so many people who were willing to take the time to walk around the city centre. Emotion welled up within me as I realized that these people all felt so strongly about helping the needy of our world that they spared the time to put their name, face and body towards the cause.
I wandered into the throng of people and saw people of all ages and all colors united. There were no sad faces, only strangely contended ones. As though they knew something that the people who were not present didn't. That they could make a difference. That they would make a difference. And by being a solitary voice within this massive show of solidarity they did make that difference.
As the time approached 3pm the crowd were told that the minute silence was about to happen and to watch the big screens for a countdown. As the timer began a 3 minute countdown the crowd fell silent. With three minutes to wait until the start of the silence for some reason the crowd suddenly stopped talking. Only the occasional hushed voice could be heard.
As the bells of the churches around Edinburgh chimed the hour of 3 the crowd fell entirely silent. No words were heard and no whistles were blown. The only sound audible was the whapp-whapp-whapp of the three police helicopters hovering above.
The minutes silence ended and the crowd erupted in noise. Whistles, airhorns, rattles, drums, cymbals, cowhorns, bells and bagpipes competed with the whoops and yells of the crowd. I yelled with them. I stood with them. Of that I'm proud.
I wandered around taking in the sights and sounds of this unique moment in world history.
I walked towards Princes St and watched as thousands of people filtered through the safety barriers that had been erected to control the flow of people around the city centre.
As 4pm approached I left the march to go to my work. Where I spent the night watching the London concert live from Hyde Park.