Wind-whirled in West Dulwich

Yesterday, the St Jude storm sent me on something of a dérive within a small area of Lambeth. There were no trains due to the winds, so instead of standing on Tulse Hill’s platform 1, I made for Brixton, but wanting to avoid the main roads, headed up a road I’d never walked along before.

In between Norwood

The pervading spirit of some places hangs quite obviously in the air. Even if you’re only passing through and not looking very hard, the distinctive atmosphere will soon make itself apparent.

West Norwood isn’t one of those places.

The oasis round the back of the station

Every area of urban green space has it’s own particular history. However, in a general sense, it’s probably true to say that the reason for a specific site’s continued existence will be one of three: it’s a cherished survivor, it’s hung on by chance, or it’s been deliberately created in a spot that was previously home to something else.

City of the Dredd

Far more than Judge Dredd – old stone face himself – it was Mega City 1 itself that caught my imagination as a child reading 2000AD.

There’s something both thrilling and terrifying in the idea of this vast, anarchic, dirty, urban sprawl, that’s the size of a state.

The not so secret garden

Grand plans and remodelling on a citywide scale never seem to have worked in London. It doesn’t possess the triumphant avenues, boulevards and grid layouts of other major world cities.

This means that some of its most interesting spaces: old churches, museums, wonderful little shops, pubs, statues, gardens and even whole streets sometimes take a little finding.

Still raucously Ridley: Dalston’s Street Market

In the last half century, visions of Dalston have been refracted in many different ways, from cult 1950s novels, 90s Yardie tales, angst-ridden millennial films to the clean windows of hip coffee shops. But for me, as an ex-resident, its pulsing, vital heart remains the stalls and sounds and crush of Ridley Road Market.

Catching the last bus home

I’ve always found bus drivers to be rather surly to say the least. But conductors were always a little different. There was a fascinating Arena documentary on TV the other night, all about five different, famous – in their way – conductors on the much missed London Routemasters. One of them – Duke Bassie –…

One world, 7 billion different maps

Imagine a map that grew and shrank, advanced and retreated as we lived out our lives. This map wouldn’t simply chart every building, street and pavement encountered, this map would change according to the weight and resonance an individual gave to a place.

Landscapes, places and routes that meant more to you personally would be given greater prominence.

Equally places you had never visited, or didn’t care, for would shrink in relative size, or disappear altogether. This would be an emotional map, a map of the inner world as much the external one.