The area where he lives in London, my brother describes as “white van man meets the the burka belt” because he’s dry and witty like that. He lives south of the river up past Brixton just off the A23 London to Brighton Rd. I couldn’t live in London. I couldn’t afford it and the dirt and unclean air would get up my nose and into my lungs. They say the tap water has been through at least seven people before you drink it. For a Northerner like me London is nice to visit in the full knowledge you can bloody well leave it a few days later. My brother’s worked out he spends at least ten hours of his working week on the train between where he lives and Victoria Station. I got up early and travelled in with him on my first full day there. The all pervading smell when I got off the train at Victoria was not shit but over processed garlic and to appropriate a phrase from Robert Duvall ” I hate the smell of over processed garlic in a morning”. The only sad but redeeming feature of the train journey in was the sight of Battersea Dogs Home and I can’t tell you how tempting it was to go see if there was a suitable companion I could rescue for my best mate.
Over the course of two days I walked my bloody legs off, camera in hand, scratching my street photography itch. Some of the results you’ll have the pleasure of on here in due course. On Brick Lane a mouthy cockney demanded ” Don’t you know you need to ask permission to take someone’s photograph?” before, when I told him I didn’t, calling me a ‘cunt’ and threatening to beat me with his big stick while backing away into the back of his open air shop selling second hand crap furniture fit only for the skip. I wish I’d had the foresight to tell him ” dya know what your trouble is old man ? – you talk too much” in a Clint Eastwood drawl but alas I’m far too polite for that.Ten yards from the Photographers Gallery where I’d been to see the wonderful Saul Leiter exhibition a young lady pushing a large crate of bottles and other sundry items along the road told me she thought I was a bit weird but apart from that I met one or two quite nice people who were more than happy to engage me in conversation. Peace be upon them !