On Sunday 4 March 2018 at 11.30am,

On Sunday 4 March 2018 at 11.30am,
go randomly to Imperial Wharf, Chelsea. As you get off the orange train think maybe you will get back on to the orange train because of rain. Instead put up your umbrella for less than 3 minutes, refurling it because the fine spray rain has soon and suddenly ended. Walk north-west up Chelsea Gdn Mkt past a new building which contains well dressed persons going in to the Design Fair 2018. Have nothing to do with this and instead go to a new and wide footbridge over the creek and photograph a large number of bolllards relaxing in mud.

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Bollards, Chelsea Wharf

Carefully remember that today is a determined effort to bring yourself out of the inertia surrounding your father’s recent death. Resolve to say yes and not no to whatever might happen while acknowledging though, that sitting on a couch beneath a blanket for several days through the coldest weather London has (possibly) known, was in fact a very good idea as it has enabled processing of previously unknown states of mind.

Announce to no-one in particular (but your self) that today is a walk for the purpose of avoiding the loss of your precious fitness, since you have avoided going dancing for nearly 2 months now and you have failed to stretch. Say in your mind: ‘I will not fail to stretch’, say it again: ‘I will not fail to stretch’. Also say in your mind, yet again, that you will return to dancing this week but this time mean it.

Find Lotts Road and walk 200 yards along it suddenly realising that it connects to Cheyne Walk and that you have long ago driven from it’s far end in your Beetle at the late end of the 1980s. Notice that that remembrance also brings into your brain Lol Creme and Kevin Godley. Suspect vaguely that you once believed that those 2 had some sort of production office in this place. Stop thinking about them when you turn left into Tadema Road.

At the petrol station wait while an uninterruptable small family suddenly emerges from a hidden gap in the wall and crosses your path. Maybe it’s good luck. Remember that you now no longer believe that luck is not real. And that you have finally become interested in magick.

Begin to head into King’s Rd World’s End where time runs quickly backwards. See a visual of Johnny Rotten as a very young man. Notice that the pub where you were long ago threatened with an oar by an Australian barman has become a different type of eating place called Eight above Eight. Think about Tracy Dann for 9 minutes and that it is she who saved you from that potential battering by being present, female and confident.

Put the letter to Gabrielle Binks which is in your backpack into the traditional red post box. Worry that it is now being sent from a postcode which does not represent the part of Lndon in which you actually live. Think ‘How does it get to Newcastle?’ meaning ‘by what specific route?’

Slow down your walking pace quite deliberately as a sort of therapy since your mind is easily overwhelmed right now. Notice that you can not quite believe that you ARE being overwhelmed and that you in fact prefer to claim that more things are being sent for you to juggle with. Perhaps both things are in fact the case. Accept grudgingly that it’s perfectly possible that inability to handle as much might coincide with the advent of more to handle.

At that bit on Kings Rd where the path narrows next a large hedge stop sharp when a fast moving stylish man of your own age but who has a beard suddenly makes a John Cleese looming step across your path in order to tie his shoelace up against the low brick wall. Inadvertantly gasp, but be sure to show no displeasure. Indeed nod amusedly.

Notice that that wonderful Blow-Up, Stones, Bailey, Faithful old-style but posh caff that once ruled this section has gone gone gone.

See, on the steps of the Registry Office, soggy but positive confetti. Had it been thrown into the snow which has now melted? Visualise them going ahead despite the forecasts of icy doom from every available Medium.

Uncharacteristically DO NOT avoid a salon representative who clearly wants your business. Fail to dip your head. Fail to avert your gaze. Fail to step away. Fail to turn around and go the back way. Simply accept the small packet of moisturiser she puts into your (also uncharacteristically) out-stretched hand. Even when she suggests coming in to her salon, do not falter. Sense that she is a very very professional Japanese woman and she knows her stuff. Without even knowing that it is happening, for the first time ever, accept the injection into your under eye areas of some marvellous wrinkle-removing substance which is not Botox. Think to your self ‘How the f*** did this happen?’ but enjoy it, precisely because it is not at all in any universe your thing. Respectfully listen to the science behind this process and admire the subtle and quite brilliant flattery of a skilled sales woman who herself of course has perfect skin. Know that you’re being in some way manipulated by very kind and modest ‘guesses’ of your actual age but don’t mind. Allow yourself for once to be drawn in and even beam with pride when you tell her that next year you get a free Oyster. Notice that although you can’t really tell the difference you DO look better. Ask her ‘What if I like my lines?’ and when her reply makes you genuinely laugh in front of herhand-held mirror, see something in your own smile that you have never actually been in a position to witness before. Fail to be embarrassed to say ‘no thanks’ to paying the ‘vastly reduced for March’ £399 for the injector and cream but take her card with grace and understand this encounter has helped you deeply.

LEFT: Accidental rejuvenation,  RIGHT: Danny Fox, Saatchi

Go into the Saatchi and be remembered by the woman at the desk as that person who was genuinely interested last November about the policy of not being allowed to wear, but allowed to carry, one’s own backpack around the gallery. Laugh when she tells you that that rule has been changed and that you can wear your haversack upon your back with gay abandon. Do just that. Find one room of stuff which you love. Become aware that this week your favourite painter is called Danny Fox and that you have no information as to their gender but so what? Buy 2 postcards of their massive, bright, rough and childlike-but-not, pictures. See some young women in a group who may be film students with what appears to be a ‘lite’ version of a steady-cam. Presume that this item might be available to the general public.

Explore Pimlico by routes which are new to you including Ebury St and Bessborough St. Buy a grey doorstop in a proper hardware-shop-of-yore uncharacteristically doing that thing where you jump the queue by leaving coins on the counter and saying keep the 5p change. Notice with deep joy that both the man waiting for a key to be cut and the assistant doing the cutting were very happy with the way you dealt with this.

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Pimlico

Cross Vauxhall Bridge beside the Cyclists Superhighway. Look to the new and enormous skyscraper flats which have magnificently replaced the skyscraper in which you worked in 79/80. Think: ‘Where do destroyed buildings go?’ Assess the possibility of jumping on to the roof of the quick-moving restaurant boat below just for a laugh. See a vivid sequence of you clattering your head on that roof and slipping into the icy Thames like a complete and utter dork.

As your legs slightly stiffen (I will not fail to stretch) wander through the Santander bike racks next to the Vauxhall Tavern and contemplate getting some form of smart device which would permit you to take part in renting one of those red vehicles and using it upon the Cyclist’s Superhighway. Carry on slow along Kennington Lane.

Watch the cops stop some ‘dead giveaway’ lads in a lowered Corsa. Watch a boy of possibly around 9 or 10 simply and unconsciously allow his unwanted box of chips to fall from his grasp no matter where it should land. Do nothing about that.

Go inside the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre like you always used to and get on one of the comfortable trains which have now returned to the melting city. As you walk towards home along Rye Lane see a highly detailed vision of a weekly workshop where you encourage persons to chant along to lo-volume electronic music triggered on your SPD-SX.

 

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Walk from Northolt to Shepherd’s Bush

Northolt to Shepherd's Bush 2014

AT 8.30 on a Saturday morning in August 2014 start walking north from Northolt tube station up Mandeville Road then change your mind, cross the road and start walking south instead.
Turn left into Eastcote Lane and have a suitable breakfast in the cafe on your left.
Head down by Belvue Park towards an arguing Japanese man and woman under the trees. What are those dome-shaped mini-hills?
Get underneath Western Avenue and head for the mini-hills that you will later be told are made out of the old Wembley Stadium and are called Northala.
Click away to get a good shot but try not to disturb the man meditating on the smaller hill. Wave to the sponsored joggers.
Make a photo of a cluster of mushrooms on Kensington Road and a massive filthy pipe over the Grand Union Canal.
Decide suddenly to head all the way down Margaret Road to Southall. What is this type of housing? It’s the same as on your walk through Gant’s Hill. Must be post-war and it’s impressively, endlessly identical.
Briefly dip in to South Street at Southall and realise that this is the feel of Lewisham. So you were obviously drawn to here in much the same way. Go in and out of the small outdoor market off the High Street which feels just like Brick Lane did when it was still in the past.
Have a sit down and a look at your early 90s A-Z outside Southall Park. Decide to go up Oakwood, Waverly, Burns, Telford, Edison and then Fleming.
Enjoy the name Dormer’s Wells. Say it out loud: “Dormer’s Wells, Dormer’s Wells”.
Left for 200 yards up Greenford Road, cross over and down that inviting little path into Brent Valley Golf Course. Take a 360 degree panorama with the Nikon on the bridge over the Brent River.
Be irresistibly drawn into the freshly cut path to your left even though you know it’s going to be a dead end. Follow it to the huge expanse of cut down grass called Bittern’s Field. Click away then return to the bridge.
OK, that was a brilliant detour but now head into a different type of housing, probably less poor, down High Lane and Bridge Avenue. In Beechmount respond with equivalent cheerfulness to the friendly man who bids you “good morning” over his gate because that’s getting so rare. Wonder what his job might have been now he’s retired. Worry about the fact that you haven’t got one.
Have a coffee in Bordars Road. When that skinny snake eyed teenage man gives you a momentary look which speaks of mistrustful ignorance, respectfully nod and say “how do?”. Leave it at that but don’t glance his way again. Read a bit of The Signature Of All Things then get going down Cuckoo Avenue with it’s lovely parade of enormous trees.
Ruislip Road East then turn right down Argyle. Cross over and take the path through Pitshanger Park. When the football comes sailing over the fence out of the sports ground to your left take time out of your busy schedule to run across and kick it back. Maybe that good turn was why you came here today? Maybe.
Now it will get even less poor through Perivale, Bury Park and into Pitshanger. Oh wow, Pitshanger is posh. It’s a bit like Hampstead Garden Village but with people, do you remember? OK, there’s an alley opposite the end of Pitshanger then go right down Brentham then wobble through to find Mount Avenue. Head east through another tree covered alley and start eating your pastrami sandwiches in Hanger Hill Park. Eat an apple also. When that gorgeous labrador puppy with the recently operated on front paw insists that he now belongs to you, indulge in that humourous fantasy with his friendly owner who will tell you it was good to meet you. Tell him the same.
Cross traffic infested Hanger Lane and quickly disappear into the woods. Go down Chatsworth Rise, Heathcote and take a photo of Park Royal tube station which you will later be told is typical of District Line architecture. Go down Masons Green Lane, the type of lengthy alley you always adored. Click away, click away. Enjoy the feel of Princes Gardens which is like a Betjeman documentary. Take a photo of West Acton tube then head along Noel Road befoe turning right for a box of Coconut and Pineapple from the newsagent. Get glared at by a motorist for standing in the middle of his access to some dodgy garages because you were taking a photo of what to him must appear to be a dreary industrial lane.
At Acton Main Line cross the road to go down Friary which feels like Thomson Street in Darlington for some reason you can’t identify. Yet again find your way to Western Avenue which has been there in the background all of the day.
Take about 20 photos of the smashed red car which has wrapped itself round a bollard and which has a sticker saying “Police Aware”. Feel guilty about this when you notice the scattered loom bands on the back seat. Just a few yards away click madly away at the abandoned and rotting house with the piles and piles of colourful clothes dumped all about it.
Cross the bridge over the empathy-free dual carriageway and grab that London vista.
Briefly into The Long Drive then right into The Fairway, on down Fitzneal. Just beyond East Acton station get a coffee and a rest and review your photos so far in Lola’s cafe. Listen secretly to the three older women loudly trying to get some sense out of VodaPhone.
Continue up Erconwald and on to Wormwood Scrubs to photo the prison.
Get back through to Du Cane and opposite Hammersmith Hospital cross back over the tube lines using the sinister wire covered footbridge into Bentworth.
Cross that good old Western Avenue yet again and go south down Bloemfontein.
Realise suddenly that there is a football match going on nearby and, even though you don’t really like football very much, be magnetically drawn towards what turns out to be QPR’s ground in South Africa Road. Click away because some of these will be turn out to be great people shots. Notice how compelling the sound of the roaring crowd is and that you never knew that your whole life. Think to yourself “it’s like an orchestra”. Don’t get all soft and start liking football though because you need to head off down Uxbridge Road. Feel utter delight when the Jamaican woman in a smart purple dress simply smiles at you for nothing but friendliness. Smile back, then explore the market by the railway.
At around 4pm trudge wearily across Shepherd’s Bush Common to mingle with the herds of happy clean shoppers flooding in and out of the Westfield by the London Overground station.