Friday, 11 January 2013

ELEPHANT AND CASTLE///// BERMONDSEY---1985//2001//2012- PART ONE,,,,, ---




St.George the martyr.
A tramp cracks jokes. Jim Davidson 1981.
Beyond the tobacconists and apothecaries of Tabard Street the damp construction of another yuppiedrome; scaffolding spines and the bright faces of imagined tenants.
Ghosts of Marshalsea, marker pen scrawls across the hoardings. “DEBTORS PRISON OPEN SOON”.

1985//2001//2012 . Aylesbury Estate.  The end of a three month bender , a series of destructive episodes. I remember needing to escape the sultry heat of the flat,  to walk out of that block and leave that whole life behind me. Trinity Street and Merrick square.  Drifting through shady Regency enclaves I sensed escape routes emerging in the blackness.
The Dental Factory. Squatted social centre,  holding it together, scavenging, signing, bunking up for comfort in that dusty hive. That was where I first noticed him, possibilities radiating in that first glance, a euphoric moment suspended,  waiting to be realised in the sparkling Autumn. 
Bailiffs at 6 in the morning, rubber plants and kit bags scattered across the pavement.  Belway Homes. Craters of dirt, faux Georgian new builds on that site where denture moulds were hurled at JBW thugs.
Always a return. Mirror touch. A different way out.

52 Beckett House,  Austin Osman Spare’s Alaphabet of Desire carved on powdery walls. Erasure and repetition, the ego at the brink of dissolution. “We are what we desire. Desire nothing and there is nothing you shall not realise’.
Dense showers of sigils oscillate and shimmer in the abandoned council flat.

England .
Black Horse Court.  George crosses and wooden scaffolds, fences built on communal lawns.
50s Estate pub. A fragment of PIL’s Death Disco glimmers for a moment before dissipating in a wall of fruit machines.  Treasure Island, Rainbow Riches ,Cashino.   Luminous 777s,  acid greens and glowing oranges.

I sense the River Neckinger beneath the paving slabs, the queasy toxicity shifting to St.Saviours dock. Devils Necktie. A chalked eye glowers up.  Bricklayers arms, a tangle of flyovers and slab block islands. The Old Kent road lifts in a confusion of non Euclidean space. .

May 2001. A macabre play of semiotic markers conjuring the phantom of an imagined England.  NF hyperactivity . Bermondsey, that knotwork of bombsites and dank maisonettes, the ghost of the Surrey canal pulling us deep into hostile terrain. A pointless escapade round Southwark Park road, cracking ribs to prise open police cordons,  festering hatred in rotten pubs, eggs thrown from seventh floor flats. Squads and spotters,, eyes darting with suspicion and territorial assertion.  Drinking plans laid to waste as we ride caged up in the back of a meat wagon to Stokey nick, flats raided in a series of petulant Section 18s.