Swampy’s back – but don’t expect him to be the face of Extinction Rebellion

The Guardian 2 months ago

Name: Swampy (AKA Daniel Hooper)

Age: 46

Appearance: You know … natural.

Do you mean that he doesn’t worry too much about his appearance, unlike all them Instagrammers these days? Sure it can mean that. Although he no longer has the long string of hair hanging from his forehead.

Wait, is this THE Swampy? Yup.

The 1990s eco-heartthrob for girls who were sick of plastic rebels like East 17 and wanted a boy who lives underground? I don’t think there were very many of those girls. But yes, him. You might remember him from such protests as the A30 extension in Devon, and the Newbury bypass.

I mainly remember him being sheepish and sweet-natured on Have I Got News For You. Yeah, he did that, too. Anyway, now he’s back.

Back underground? Back on TV.

In I’m a Celebrity? I’m sure he’d be good at that, but no. He was on ITV News, following his court appearance for wilful obstruction of the highway.

That Swampy. What mischief has he got up to now? Attaching himself to a concrete block at the entrance to the Valero fuel refinery in Pembrokeshire. It was part of an Extinction Rebellion protest last month.

Doesn’t concrete generate a lot of carbon dioxide? This was only a little bit of concrete. Just enough to make Swampy and his nine friends difficult to remove. In the end they lasted 12 hours, then left.

Desperate for the toilet, I expect. I assume so. Swampy pleaded guilty to a magistrate in Haverfordwest, and was required to pay fines and costs amounting to £157.

Is he likely to become the face of Extinction Rebellion then? I doubt it. He says he didn’t enjoy being seen as a figurehead when he was young. “I hated it,” he told ITV. “It wasn’t what I wanted to do, and I don’t think it did the movement much good.”

In that case why is he talking to the media again? Maybe he’s just being polite. Besides, he has his own life now, with a partner and four kids.

Do they all live underground, like Fraggles? Close. The last we heard, they were living in a tent on a commune in Wales. Swampy works for the Forestry Commission and likes running marathons.

I suppose having four children and running marathons makes chaining yourself to a concrete block feel like a day off. I suppose so.

Do say: “I liked environmental activism before it was cool.”

Don’t say: “At this stage, maybe we should just buy a new environment.”


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