Compendium of subway tunnels

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1. under sun-in-the-sands roundabout, kidbrooke

air—light—-landing strip

hurtling out of the dark into the bleak but somehow blinding sunlight in the centre of the belly of the beast

 ribbed ceiling as if corrugated by the repeated tyres beating it down, rucking it up, from above; smooth and reflective and cool to touch

┬ástriped replaced tarmac, no-one comes here, all for practicality and none left for aesthetic. smoothed and sliced at the sides, carved off by the sculptor’s pallet knife (but not at all- left for dead by the maintenance man’s paint brush)

cool dark haven under the thunder

scrub-lined sidelines upon arrival

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2. bullring roundabout, waterloo

wet breezeblock

flooding glowing into the echo chamber of a limb under a tarmac coat

leading into the central space of imagined perfection, the screens, the layered lacquer of gloss over what was once waterloo, what was once the cardboard city

low maintenance high cost bare brick soft light

nothing but a small flicker negates the atmosphere

this is the future of the ‘gritty’, the false floor under which, in the coming years, the real inhabitants of london will become trapped

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3. wandsworth bridge roundabout, wandsworth

stark contrast:

duck egg blue painted mouth of the grisly concrete tunnel, spilling out into a sea of grey

gentle and soft-lit, sloping edges, storm drain

this is comfort from the harsh reality of grey and white, steel and hard smooth fabrication.

municipal, standard, blue attempt at lightening the mood of an otherwise untouched display of brutalism and bleakness.

sad attempt- who sees it?

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4. target roundabout, northolt

swimming pool echoes what’s around the corner

tiles as walked on by verruca-d feet in chlorinated sterility

divided in two by a scuffed white line- for bikes? but no room, no leeway unless the walker is to throw themselves against the slippery white wall

dusty grey track under drab white rule

Compendium of subway tunnels

the gap

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un-topia: failed utopia

dystopia: built to fail

both the delight of the misanthropist (me?)

a concrete un-topia. thamesmead. part setting for clockwork orange, misfits. a concrete tidal wave encroaching on woolwich’s braced back. swampland reclaimed (reclaimed? claimed in the first instance) from the thames. grey monolith of a town-sized city of doom. on the outskirts of town down under where the wings of the spaghetti junction flap smoothly to the ground and the grey ribbon segues smoothly in amongst the undergrowth; a space, a cubby hole, a gap:::

cupboard under the stairs

they began building a wall here, a conventional brick wall with mortar spread satisfyingly like baloney on all sides of each block of red dust… it peters out, shaven off at the top by a phantom superstrong saw. badly matched, above, the sloping slabs of concrete forming the road above impose a grey shelf topped with steel fence and garnished with monochrome graffiti tags and bird shit.

but it’s the space in between:::

gap exposed by brick, bone, dust, slab

what lives inside? local junkies, teenagers with cans of scrumpy, a thin shaft of greying light? stray cats? a hoard of trash from 1979?

not filled; curiosity allowed to peak at the sight of a dark space under

brick grows up from the earth in an unavoidable stumpy mass

concrete meets it above, unforgiving and STARK

remnant of a new and hopeful now un-topia superimposed on the traditions of Old London

the gap

red bus

there’s a red double decker bus in the concrete lot of one of the railway arch units next to peckham rye station. I pass it every day, whether I have opted for train, bus or feet that day on the way to college. it’s one of those things that has been ‘re-purposed’ in that kitsch-y, unreal way that is common for junky old vintage objects in this age; in other words, it’s probably had the original seating ripped out and has got a few picnic benches rammed inside it at which people in their early to mid twenties sit with overpriced cans of red stripe (I refuse to call them ‘hipsters’ because the word doesn’t mean anything except what you want it to).

to stand on the pavement opposite the gate behind which this bus sits is to be facing a cheap wooden board hand-painted in red with the word “brewery” (there might be a word before that, but “brewery” is the only one I need to see) concealing the rusted iron spikes that make up the gate. it’s flanked on either side by :left: another similar gate, and :right: a small household goods store.

the store is there for a simple and fulfilled purpose. it is a shop from which people who live in the local area buy practical and cheap items such as mops, washing powder, plastic cutlery. the bus is there for an aesthetic purpose somewhat submerged in the cloying fog of trying to look authentic and, for the want of a better phrase, bohemian. it sits below the railway arch with a sort of dilapidated smugness.

I have seen the bus from many different angles.

1. above, from a train carriage; standstill in the station. the smut and grease of another person’s forehead clinging to the glass, through which images appear distorted in such a way that would make an interesting, albeit gross, filter for a camera. easy viewing. bird’s eye. viewing the un-purposed from a purposed platform high above, and the cause of the bus’ presence in the first instance.

2. from a stand-still, opposite, through a wrought iron rusted fence with a wooden board affixed; peeking around the edges, tiptoes to see over the top, glancing around for a flaking red flank. as long as I want. staring, seeking out, contrasting with surroundings.

3. fleeting::: as a glance as my bus passes by, craning my neck and blinded by the sun as it explodes into my vision, only a flash of faded red visible through the burn left on my vision.

photographs to follow?

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