Wednesday, 10 August 2011

I Heart London but it's a little broken

I am a Londoner but I don't live there anymore. My family started with a kiss on Clapham Common, I shopped with my mother in Croydon, teenaged in Brixton, many of the people I love still live there. London will always be in my heart because it started beating there.

Seeing pictures of it burnt out, people frightened, ugly scenes of riot shields and crowds running amok took me right back. Right back to being a child when loud voices outside the house could be the riots spreading into our street and when a neighbour invited my mother out on a trip to join in the looting. Brixton was a few miles away but the fear spread across South London, I was the kind of child that worried and imagined the worst would erupt at any moment, I used to lay in bed worrying about German bombers FFS.

Brixton gradually got better, became buzzier in a good way, people started to see it as cool. But i'm not sure people's lives really changed or that the problem got sorted. deprivation and trouble moved elsewhere, further out to places that lacked vibrancy, facilities and access to the things that make living in London great. South London has always had a moody edge, i'm just surprised it has taken this long to finally erupt.

And so it erupts and I feel sad and anxious for many reasons. That life is only going to get tougher, people poorer and the streets more dangerous, that division and racism will rear their ugly heads. I'm still that worrier , on a bad day my visions resemble armaggedon. Now I worry for my children and what the future of Britain will hold for the young. Whatever happens our world is changing. Wether or not it descends into increased deprivation and violence depends on how we change with it. There are enough resources, knowledge, and love to go round and now is the time to share it.

I am a londoner and watching it burn was heartbreaking. I am English and I am terrified as I watch the flames spread. My family is made of different races, we share cultures and wisdoms and are richer for it. At the moment I feel pretty bleak but in these times we turn to family and I hope that as a society we defend and mend our communities together, wherever our hearts started beating.

On a lighter note, Lewes is quietly middle class as usual, but i'm now worrying about bonfire night....


  1. Heartbreaking and grimly fascinating, watching the places one has known throughout life be destroyed. But they are not destroyed we cannot let them be destroyed by either the looters/rioters/mindless or the bureaucracy that jerks its knee nor the spin doctors that hold the reflex hammer and diagnoses the patient lame.

  2. Hi Dorian

    The media do like to whip up fear. We would never usually see all of those events simultaneously in our everyday lives. They create a narrative very quickly and match the most brutal images to the coverage. Emotional bombardment was how it felt.

    Shame the coverage of bankers and rich tax evaders cannot be filmed and televised in such a dramatic way. White collar crime and its damaging effect on our society just don't provide the same level of drama,

    Thanks for reading.