diamond geezer

 Monday, February 16, 2015

This is a post about somewhere in London I've been and you probably haven't. I've been there to look at stuff and wander about and take some photos, and in this post I'll tell you all about the place in too much detail, because that's how it works.

This place I've visited isn't too near the centre of town, nor is it right out on the outskirts. Lots of people live there, because this is London, but most people wouldn't see the place as especially noteworthy. Time Out never mention it, at least not since that half page in 2008 when they found a restaurant and a clothes shop to get excited about. The ethnic mix is quite interesting, not that it was always like this, indeed if you go back far enough this was all fields, but then I always say that.

I've discovered that this place has plenty of old things and history if you know where to look. I did lots of research online before I came, so I have a pretty good idea, indeed you could do the same if you wanted rather than always going to the shops at the weekend. I tend not to go to the shops at the weekend, I go to places like this, partly because it interests me and partly to save you the bother. And yes I really did take time out to visit, rather than sitting at home regurgitating what's on the internet and adding a few images from Streetview, because that's how I roll.

Let me start by establishing whereabouts this place is. I'll mention which side of London it's on, possibly the zone, maybe the borough, and probably the name of the nearest station. This may be the only reference to trains in the entire post, but no matter what else I write I can guarantee that half the comments from readers will be about the station or the railway, twas ever thus. And I'll probably throw in a bit of local history too, in a sentence or two, but only up until the point where the Second World War interrupted things, because this always happens too.

I'll no doubt structure the main body of my post like a journey, or some kind of walk-through. Sometimes the theme helps in this respect, like going on a bus journey or taking a walk along a river. I'm not convinced this linear structure necessarily helps you, because you don't know the place from Adam, so I'm essentially leading you blind through a fog of ignorance. But you could always look up my route on a map if you liked, not that you will because that's a bit multi-platform, and I won't have made it easy for you to follow along.

I visited one place of interest, I hesitate to call it a tourist attraction, just off the main built-up area. If you're lucky it was closed when I turned up, or cost money to go inside, in which case I'll barely mention it. But if it was open and free, sorry, you're due for at least a paragraph about the interior. Expect a long list of items I spotted in the main room, in lieu of narrative, and a comment on the paltry number of visitors. What you'll not get is a report on the tearoom or the choice of paninis, because I don't waste time stopping for food and drink while I'm out, not unless one of you is tagging along and forcing my hand.

Down the road somewhere I'll have spotted a particular thing. Usually it's an interesting building of some kind, not necessarily with outstanding architecture but quirky in some way, or unashamedly post-modern. I'll have illustrated my writing with a photo, but invariably too small for you to appreciate the fine detail, and usually without the option to click to zoom in closer. Sorry, I tend not to overdo the pictorial aspect in my posts, instead relying on you actually reading words to get the flavour of the place. If that annoys you, sorry, but you could always come and see for yourself.

I'll probably spend one paragraph being disappointed by recent developments. Something new is being built in this corner of town - probably flats, it's always flats - and I'll be less than complimentary. What used to be here was more interesting, but they've demolished that, and in its place is a blocky stacky pile of overpriced matchboxes. I know we need more housing but 21st century apartment design is so relentlessly characterless, all glass towers and brightly coloured exterior panels, and so desperately out of financial reach of ordinary Londoners etc etc etc you get the idea.

It's around this point in the post that I'll consider mentioning the railway line again, but think better of it. The pedants would only chip in to tell me I'd got something wrong, so best not give them the opportunity. I'll have got other things wrong too, facts I've misjudged and conclusions I've jumped to, but because they're about aspects of this location people know nothing about, they'll not be spotted. I'm not really an expert, you know, I sourced most of this information via Google or Wikipedia. That's why I've spent ages adding lots of links to provide background evidence throughout the text, not that I expect you to click on any of them, but somehow I feel better that they're there.

If I'm particularly fortunate I've hit on a corner of London where a few of my readers live, and they'll chip in with local knowledge or nostalgic anecdotes that add an extra dimension to what I've written. But a lot of you won't even have got past the first paragraph, the bit where I announced the name of somewhere you'd never heard of, or didn't think you'd be interested in. And that's fine, nobody forces you to read this stuff, especially when it's niche, immaterial, obscure or all three. Until I finally get a life that keeps me otherwise occupied at the weekend, expect more of the same.

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