Over the Christmas period, I found out that LimaZulu occupies the site of the Challen piano factory where the world’s largest piano was built. Here it is…
Mike says that at quiet moments, you can still hear the moans of a child who was killed in the factory when trying to play a piano, got their hand caught and died that night.
5 days of it. London, warm and grey. I have just returned from the first Page Green Residents’ Association meeting to be held in 2013. And very nice it was too.
Sometime after midnight on New Year’s Eve, we found ourselves at Highbury Corner. We’d just lost half our crowd. They exited in a black cab: pained extortionately NYE priced exhorbitantly. So Jim called Ski and Ski picked us up in his black cab. We crossed the intersection of Canonbury Square (Orwell at No. 27b, Waugh at 17a) and headed for Hackney.
At this point in the morning, the tallow was already guttering… World Unknown. Autumn Road. We entered and found ourselves amongst hordes of hip young things, their minds deadened by drugs. Ears deafen’d by feedback. There was nothing for it but to immerse oneself. But what in? And at what cost? I’ve never seen Cava for sale at a warehouse rave…
And I would never have imagined I’d see anyone celebrating Fairport’s Cropredy in the midst of a techno party… The mind reeled as people around me got off.
Sometimes I feel that I’m beginning to loose track of London and its youth.
And then something strange happened. It started to snow. And Tin Can Dan arrived. Things fairly quickly orientated themselves towards Alcohol + Death. We drank at the Kings College Students Union bar overlooking the Thames, then encountered ghastly manifestations of death and dying at the Wellcome collection’s rather brilliant exhibition.
This photograph does pose a good question. When shall we meet again? Death so hidden, tucked away in the elderly wards and disinfected hospital rooms. Death hyped by headlines in the Metro, sensational news coverage. But it quietly stalks us all. Some of us try and outrun it. But it’s there, waiting just around the corner.
Later, we found ourselves stoned and cold at Abney Park Cemetry…
My! Look at how even the cemetry authorities are obsessed with the prospect of a death on their premises…
The Chapel, wreathed in a protective fence painted gun-metal grey.
…Make his songs… of their tongues. What does it mean?
We were looking for Postman’s Park,
a small green in the depths of the Square Mile, which houses the Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, created by George Frederic Watt in 1900.
The gate was locked and we had to clamber over the wrought iron fence. Centuries of surface burials and bodies piled high into the English soil have raised the level of the park so that it now stands feet above street level. Rows of ceramic tiles, listing the grim deaths of ordinary passers-by and family members, who put their own life on the line to save that of another and ended up losing.
We exited the park, only to be addressed by the driver of a black cab: a Scot who almost immediately told us of burying his brother before Christmas. The man had drunk a full bottle of whiskey and walked to the end of a nearby pier and waited for the sea to claim him. This, the cabbie explained, was the second brother had had buried from drowning. He went on, that his solace in the following weeks had come from God – he interjected, “No’ the kind of theological thing, I’m no’ preaching at yees, ahm jis’ talkin’ aboot the different dimension, the higher realms, ken?” – and Chris Martin. This man understood that Chris Martin was trying to teach the youth how to live a better and true life. We were taken aback, none of us being massive Coldplay fans. In due course, we asked him where the nearest Wetherspoons was and secured directions – he obviously has The Knowledge. He sent us off into the city. But on our walk there, we were availed by the noise of car horn and the cabbie had followed us! The doors unlocked. “Do yees want a lift boys?” – we did. Once safely inside the warmth, we sped off and the man asked if we wanted to listen to the song which had helped him through the dark days. He turned the stereo up as loud as it could go…
… and played Major Minus by Coldplay. We sat in silence, none of us could understand the reverence this man had for it. But as we arrived, we agreed how great the song was, thanked him profusely and got into the pub.
Dan left. Went back to the South Coast leaving Al and I to carry on. Homerton, lit up by the snow. More drinks at the Elderfield and an uncomfortable discussion outside with the young barman about gentrification.
As I walked home, I came across a row of neatly parked and preserved Citroën Deux Chevaux
I particularly like the vans.
And lastly, an apposite image of the digger, claw raised aloft full of broken bricks of a demolished building just down from Manor House.