Tuesday, 8 May 2007

New Office New Journey Home

78 bus through Bermondsey past antique shops, past the Cat and Cucumber cafe that I always saw off the train when I used to work in Lewisham several moons ago, and over Tower Bridge. Past Tower of London much less imposing in its modern surroundings than it probably was in its day as royal palace and then jail for traitors.

Around to Aldgate - a part of town that I seldom have cause to visit - and onto Liverpool Street. Past the juxtaposition that Spitalfields has become - the old buildings with narrow windows and red bricks next to the painfully modern glass buildings built with impossible narrow angles like shards of glass or blades of knives and ones in the process of being built boasting of their soon-to-be space, views, dynamic office space.

Then onto the brick railway bridges by Brick Lane. The tea for two building with its arrow and then the trendily shabby shops and bars of Old Street. Often dark and unassuming with suprising wares (70's retro, chandeliers) and services (Prick Tattoo, Sh! women's sex shop).

Change buses at Shoreditch church. Travelling up Kingsland Road past old haunts (used to love to while away saturday night at Herbal - drink, dance, listen to music). Watch trendy young people - their skinning jeans and 70s dresses with smocking, ruffles, bold prints, and asymmetric hair cuts and patches of colour. Tres cool.

The nondescript road turns into Dalston. Centreprise cafe gallery its 30s styled sign coming out from the building. The Rio cinema where I once studied Tape Slide & made a sort of animated film from poems and pictures. Ridley Road market covered in cabbage leaves. Used to pop by on our way from somewhere to home late at night for bagels and cream cheese. Customers drunk and enjoying the food and warmth and yellow glow spilling onto the street corner. An oasis of activity in the cold dark.

Beyond. Getting ever deeper north we arrive at the familiar territory of Stoke Newington. Yum Yum's and Abney Road Cemetery. After the Bird Cage and the new dagenham motor showroom it turns into Stamford Hill. Large estates and big run down houses, Hebrew schools, synagogues and a library which is shut on Saturday but open on Sunday. Men with big beaver hats, long black coats and white stockings. Women with bad wigs and girls in sensible shoes and calf length skirts. There's a new public toilet. Round with cubicle doors all round the outside - perhaps 10 of them. Built by popular demand from older residents tired of being caught short at the shops. Newsworthy due to its status as the cheapest doss house in town, discovered by homeless migrant polish and eastern block construction workers who stay overnight for 20p, sleep on the floor, get up, wash and go to work.

Whizzing past the huge brick St Ignatius Catholic Church, grotty pubs of South Tottenham and along to Seven Sisters. Neve sure which are the actual Seven Sisters trees b ut I know they are here somewhere. Onwards to everyday territory along the home stretch of Tottenham High Road.

New office, new journey home. New enough not to have jaded my vision.

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