Riot-smashed comic-shop window in Birmingham makes for inadvertent summation of England's Current Situation

Joe from Forbidden Planet sez, "A couple of our comics stores in Manchester and Birmingham got damaged during the awful riots this week (what sort of numpty attacks their local comics store?!) - luckily they didn't get into the stores, it was just the frontage took some bruises and staff are all fine. One of our colleagues at our much loved Nostalgia & Comics store in Birmingham, David, sent us this photo which just seemed to sum things up rather nicely."

…. and this about sums it all up….. (Thanks, Joe!)


  1. In case you didn’t know: That slogan was meant to go up on posters should Britain lose WWII, to keep the populace from doing anything silly, and getting killed by their German overlords.

    1. Not if we lost – but if the UK was partially invaded. It was supposed to keep the nazi free areas working and productive.

      As for stopping people getting killed by their new German overlords? Britain had a fully-fledged stay behind network with a predicted life expectancy of days or weeks and Churchill was planning on using the phrase “You can always take one with you” in his resistance broadcasts.

    1. Not so long ago, Cory was on the side of the protesters/anarchists/kettlees/lawbreakers. Huh.

      Funny, I always thought of Cory as being more or less on the side of reason and rationality. It’s these protestors that switched camps to the burn down the neighbors and let god sort out the loot side. For every jackass trying to plunder the local comic shop there are maybe ten trying to disrupt the powers that be without ruining other folks’ lives. These lawbreakers aren’t even protestors; they’re opportunists giving civil disobedience a bad name. Even I, who am often skeptical of some of the things nonviolent protestors do or pursue, can see the difference between them and these idiot thugs. If you think the world breaks down into neat little Authorities and Rebels bins, you’re not much brighter than the twits torching their own neighborhoods.

      P.S. – I don’t assume you necessarily think that, jmb98115; I was just making a point.

    2. What happens is:  You get older.  You grow a family.  Your priorities change.  The youthful romance with “anarchy” loses it’s sexy patina.

    3. jmb98115, it’s like this.  Perhaps you didn’t get the memo.

      Trashing places where the bourgeois shop: although we don’t actually support this, it’s surely an understandable reaction to the oppressive capitalist system.  Think of it as a tangible way of “speaking truth to power”.

      Trashing places where only hipsters shop: Fuck those crooks. What kind of numpties are they, anyway?

  2. Considering the damage done to the shop (Richer Sounds) next door, I’ve been relieved to see Nostalgia and Comics is still standing each morning this week.

  3. @facebook-607675355:disqus He may still be. The riots are something completely different. A big problem with alll this is that non violent protest, civil disobedience, marches, camps etc will be met with the same force as the UK govt are giving themselves access to now. 

    1. The riots are something completely different. A big problem with alll
      this is that non violent protest, civil disobedience, marches, camps etc
      will be met with the same force as the UK govt are giving themselves
      access to now.

      On the contrary, the government rarely waits three days to crack down on nonviolent protests.

  4. How interesting that the inadvertent summation of the UK riots includes the Captain America comic.  I’d say it’s ironic, but I am not from Canada.

  5. Are the meaningful elements of the photo supposed to be the cracked window with “Keep calm and carry on” sign inside, or are the two posters of Captain America part of the summation or commentary? America has something to do with the riots? Rioters want to strike back against USA?

  6. That window needs a copy of Watchmen, though… or some other comic which itself includes a riot scene…

  7. Rioting is not civil disobedience. Let’s be clear on that. Civil
    disobedience is protesting peacefully, getting arrested, going to court,
    maybe going to jail. Civil disobedience uses the legal system. Change comes after enough people recognize that you were right. Civil disobedience can really suck, but it actually works.
    Rioting like this? WTF? Rioting like this makes me think of Day of the Dead and 28 Days Later. It’s more zombie apocalypse than protest.

  8. For those who don’t know, Forbidden Planet is an immense science fiction (and everything that goes with it) bookstore in central London. It is Mecca to anyone who ever dreamed of zero gravity or enjoyed a robot movie. Thank FSM that it was outside the riot zone; I couldn’t bear another shock like the closing of A Change of Hobbit, which still hurts after lo these many years.

  9. “Riot-smashed comic-shop window in Birmingham makes for inadvertent summation of Comic Book Industry’s Current Situation”

    There, I fixed that for you. 

  10. I think the “civil” in “civil disobedience” is the one with the definition “Having to do with people and government office as opposed to the military or religion” instead of the one with the definition “Behaving in a reasonable or polite manner”. [Definitions copy/pasted from Wiktionary]

    People are denied rights, and thus the benefits of those rights. These people are taking some of the benefits directly (the ones that can be taken directly: material goods, the feeling of freedom), and this short term solution, to these hopeless people, seems about as good as anything they’re likely to get. This is how it is nowadays here in the first world: Riot and you either get arrested or you get some loot that will make you happy enough for a few months. Protest peacefully like the students did and you either get arrested or you get nothing. That is, unless you’re in the Tea Party and actually helping out the establishment. Then you can protest with results.

    It would be nice if these people could attack bigger oppressors than comic shops, but the rich live in mansions in the country and at the tops of tall buildings and in gated communities, well out of the reach of the marginalized. This is what’s available and obvious, and also where the loot is. And it’s not like these people necessarily even know who their oppressors really are. I’m guessing they haven’t had much of a chance to pursue degrees in sociology, law, and political science. Yes, you, BoingBoing commenter, are likely much smarter than these people and probably have a better idea than them about what’s the best course of action. Are you just going to make fun of them for this and call them crazy idiots? Or are you going to use your position to help them out?

    1. So Tommy, what you appear to be saying is that although you don’t actually support looting, you see it as an understandable reaction to the oppressions of the capitalist system.

      Have I interpreted your post correctly?

  11. @google-bf78d0f9316f3d910d05a11ccd5bbd1f:disqus Hmmm — I see no good reason to help them out. Do you?

    I heard one interview from a “protestor” — OK, rioter — who said that they tried protesting, but nothing came of it, and nobody listened, and so this was the result. Yeah, umm, maybe they hadn’t heard, but  protesting is hard. Real civil disobedience is hard. Forming a political movement for change takes a lot of work and struggle and sacrifice. Protestors will die. Boots will tromp. Then you win. References? Ummmm… Gandhi? King? Perhaps you’ve heard of them.

    Should we really, actually accept that peaceful protest should be abandoned if it doesn’t work at first, and nobody listened, and now we’re mad? Great. Let’s go with that model. I bet that will work out well.

    1. Re: helping them out, I don’t mean helping them burn buildings or anything. I mean helping them turn this into something worthwhile.

      If there’s a poor teenager in a Tottenham who’s a lawyer or a PhD like Ghandi and King, I think it would be very nice if he’d form a political movement and lead a proper protest. If there isn’t, I don’t think it could happen. That is, unless someone who isn’t a poor teenager in Tottenham stops turning away in disgust and lends them a hand. I don’t know if they’d even be able to accept someone else’s hand, though.

      Anyway, nonviolent resistance isn’t the only thing that’s ever worked. Not that I’d advocate it.

  12. A correspondent for Salon opines that the sentences handed down in magistrate court are “incredibly harsh

    “As of Friday morning, around 1,600 people have been arrested, with at least 500 charged, many in makeshift overnight courts. The sentences are incredibly harsh — six months for one student with no previous criminal record for stealing water worth $5.70 (American), four months for an 18-year-old man in Manchester for swearing at the police. The majority of those sentenced so far, according to the Guardian, are “overwhelmingly young, male and unemployed.” “

  13. Forbidden Planet is a chain, so could probably survive an attack on one of its stores (although it would still be a Very Bad Thing, of course).
    This reminds me of the story (possibly apocryphal) of a Waterstone’s bookstore in an area hit by riots which refused to close, as the staff said “if they steal from us they might learn something”. 

  14. Hi, Richard from the Forbidden Planet International Blog

    Just to clarify a few things- 

    Nostalgia & Comics is an FPI affiliate store, part of the Forbidden Planet International chain of comic shops in the UK. And completely separate from the Forbidden Planet chain (of which the London store is one).Yes, it’s a strange situation. I could explain, but Wikipedia pretty much covers it..

    The London FP store was in the riot zone at one point, but remained untouched.

    Deidzoeb: The Captain America posters are not some kind of clever statement, just a window display. One of the staff put the Keep Calm sign in there as a spur of the moment thing. I know this may be unusual – but sometimes people aren’t having a go at the US. 

    As for the comments on the rioting…. hmm. Sadly, we’re no strangers to rioting in the UK. Poll Tax Riots, Handsworth, Toxteth, Brixton. And many more. 
    But this felt different. The initial rioting in Tottenham may have been the end result of many factors, with the death of   Mark Duggan being the spark to set it all off. And the outpouring of violence from that, across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, may have an element of frustrated youth in it. But a lot of it seemed to be just people deciding it was a great way to go a bit wild and get a new pair of trainers or a big TV. It didn’t feel like a riot, more just opportunistic thievery.

  15. In case you didn’t know: That slogan was meant to go up on posters
    should Britain lose WWII, to keep the populace from doing anything
    silly, and getting killed by their German overlords.

    I thought “Keep Calm and Carry On” was an official exhortation to the people of London by the British government, an effort to keep things from falling apart in light of almost unceasing aerial attacks by the Nazis on cities like London during the second world war.

    1. The “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters were never used, but Chris Cook upthread is right. They were meant to be used if things had gotten worse- such as a successful German landing- in order to get people to keep fighting/working and not lose hope. Most of the posters printed were destroyed once it became clear that they wouldn’t be needed, but a few had been distributed- one of these was found in a box in a used bookstore in Northern England several years ago.

      Some very similar-looking posters (white-on-red, with a crown and some text in that font) were widely used- the most famous one read “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory”.

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