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metrocentric

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(no subject) [Aug. 15th, 2015|07:15 pm]
metrocentric
On a train towards Barnes, Mortlake, North Sheen, Richmond. Three across the aisle, thirties-young: a couple and one another woman.

"Has she told you about her first job in London? Did she ever tell you about that? Do you want to, shall I tell her?"

"..."

"She was paid, right, by this rich guy, this, was he Russian?"

"..."

"Anyway, he was rich. And what [name] was paid to do, was be his wife's best friend. Her best friend in London. And this went on for, what, a year at least? Eighteen months?"

"Really? Just to be her friend? I mean like, I don't wanna, but, how much?"

He starts talking again, but now his partner speaks up, sharply, with the careful emphasis of someone who wants a point understood.

"He paid me to keep tabs on her. I reported back on her. That's what he paid me for ."

There's a pause, and then her boyfriend says:
"You never told me that... No.... you never told me that."
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Gare do Oriente (informal access) [Aug. 11th, 2015|11:40 pm]
metrocentric
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Gare do Oriente
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There has to be some kind of convention one can pray in aid to get out of these things [Aug. 11th, 2015|11:21 pm]
metrocentric
Two young men are discussing stress. One suffers from it, the other seeks to advise: he suggested colouring books. This was greeted with some enthusiasm.

The stressed fellow must have steadier hands than mine - I remember colouring as a test of the nerves; upbraided in infants' school for 'going over the lines', I never could approach the endeavour calmly.
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Campolide [Jul. 28th, 2015|11:36 pm]
metrocentric
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Campolide
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Not altogether f i c t i o n a l [Jul. 28th, 2015|11:08 pm]
metrocentric
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I will now turn to outstanding correspondence.
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Neckartor [Jul. 19th, 2015|10:56 pm]
metrocentric
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Stadtbahnstation Neckartor

Stadtbahnstation Neckartor
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Twenty-Two. Ess Double You Won. [Jul. 19th, 2015|10:53 pm]
metrocentric
The iBus announcer on the 22 exceeds her ordinary stridence in the matter of one bus stop. A little way up Sloane Street, she exclaims: 'Pont Street!'

As if to say:
Pont Street! There it is again.
Pont Street! Well, what can one expect.
Pont Street! Of all things.
Pont Street! It really is the limit.
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Ludwigshafen am Rhein / Neckarau [Jun. 28th, 2015|09:43 pm]
metrocentric
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Mannheim
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S-West [Jun. 28th, 2015|09:25 pm]
metrocentric
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Vogelsang
The warm sleep of a Saturday lunchtime inner suburb. A percussive bang; people look around, look that way, up Bebelstraße. A tram, with the incline and priority in its favour has hit a car gambling its way across the line. The car is now on the adjacent Stadtbahn track, spun around a quarter turn to face up the hill.

Police cars and fire vehicles appear as if they had been lying wait. The street awakes: the festive atmosphere that prevails after a road traffic accident in which no-one is hurt. One of the uniforms is capturing the crash site with his camera; the Polizei and Feuerwehr stand in a semi-circle around the errant vehicle, as if arranged for a group photograph.

Augustenstraße / Reuchlinstraße
Dusk, in a district of tall mansion blocks. A car filled with shouting young Turks tears around the corner, screeching at the tyres. Several seconds later, making the same turn in reverse and several storeys above, a gang of swifts, tumbling and screaming.
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Walking to the tube, I saw a constellation of stars in the dark red eyes of crane marker lights [Jun. 11th, 2015|11:54 pm]
metrocentric
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SW3
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STOP GENTRIFYING MEDWAY [May. 23rd, 2015|07:33 pm]
metrocentric
STOP GENTRIFYING MEDWAY!
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(no subject) [Apr. 26th, 2015|09:42 pm]
metrocentric
It was the time of year when those who don't normally, do - with variable results. The following observations in Pimlico, within a quarter of an hour.

A woman is making haste in the direction of the Vauxhall Bridge Road. Like something from a breathless novel, she is crying and muttering to herself simultaneously, in what I can only describe as a kind of narrative sobbing.

A couple are kissing by the railings. We pass them quickly, having been prevented from giving them the privacy of pavement sovereignty by a convoy of Addison Lee carriers. And as we do pass, the woman emits something you could call a happy whimper.

Two men of early middle-age and late of evening. One springs forward. He takes a run up that culminates in a flying kick at one of those generic fibreglass sculptures of trafficked Peruvian bears then dotted about the streetscape. This he does with a battle-cry of: 'Fuck off, Paddington!'. The ursine immigrant remains stoically unmoved, whilst his attacker sprawls on the slabs. His companion, drawing level, remarks reassuringly: ' Stronger than he looks, in't he?'
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Still metrocentric after all these years [Apr. 19th, 2015|02:02 am]
metrocentric
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Campo Pequeno Metro
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Back in town, first thing I do is leave it again for the weekend [Mar. 30th, 2015|08:46 pm]
metrocentric
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Chiswell
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When I lived in England [Mar. 12th, 2015|08:55 pm]
metrocentric
It was a patch of derelict land close to the town centre, undergoing development. Photos from a couple of years ago showed partly completed new residential building, but by the time I arrived that construction had been pulled down again. Which was odd.

At street level, battered hoardings nine feet high concealed the plot, but from my windows I could see it all. One one side, a former warehouse accommodated a signwriter on its ground floor. Occasionally his van would pull in, a pub sign strapped to its roof. On two occasions he convened a gathering of other signwriters, and many brought their vans, too.

Most of the action was at the far end, and up a slope. On a small scale, something - probably housing - was being built. It was being built slowly, without cranes or any other large apparatus. The work made very little noise.

There were a small group of workmen, and one workwoman. These builders were accompanied in their work by a dog, puppyish when first I saw it and no less playful when last. The dog was abundantly available to be made a fuss of, and generally ran free about the site.

But the most striking thing was what the builders didn't wear. No eye-jangling orange or yellow hi-vis vests, not even any helmets. It was like construction in a different country and a former decade.

I'd go further: this was a prelapsarian building site, having a quality of innocence about it. And in this Edenic garden of brick and cement dust, without the obligatory reflective and protective clothing and headwear, the builders might as well have been naked.
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This space left intentionally blank [Jan. 14th, 2015|09:22 pm]
metrocentric
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Buenos Aires
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f i c t i o n a l [Jan. 14th, 2015|09:01 pm]
metrocentric
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default orders
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More than half way round the 253, the conductor would look at you funny [Dec. 15th, 2014|08:58 pm]
metrocentric
A very long time ago, when I was first making my way about town, and comparing my experiences with others who did, Hackney would often arise, as a problem. Anywhere without a tube station has this characteristic, but Hackney somehow more so. I'm not being a snob about it, how could I? At the time I lived South of the River.

It wasn't that you couldn't get there - you could; I often did. But it was like enlightenment: there were so many ways to it, and no agreement to be had on which was the best. Anyone who said they knew the ideal route was by definition not to be trusted, because s/he had clearly been subject to a particular strand of belief. Personal experience was no guide: what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow.

Naif that I was, I tried all the ways. The first was my favourite, tube to Bethnal Green, then the 253 up: most of the time a dream, the remainder a nightmare. Some swore by Highbury and then the 30. There were others who went by train all the way, through Liverpool Street, as if they were going to Norfolk. And there were all sorts of ways of using the North London Line, which then consisted of two ancient carriages and existed more in the imagination than manifestation.

But as I remember it, the people who actually lived in Hackney, and made their journeys in reverse order, would have nothing to do with rails at all. They took the bus all the way and they wouldn't hear of alternatives. It was as if time operated differently for them, as is supposed around black holes - Dalston Kingsland as an event horizon, the dark matter of Cambridge Heath.

And even Hackney residents didn't agree. They'd recommend the 22, the 30, the 38, the 55. When I lived in Brixton they said the 35 had been laid on just for me. For a practical joke they'd send you on the 6, and you'd find yourself at Hackney Wick, which is not enough Hackney at all. It didn't help that I could never quite recognise Mare Street: it was a friend I'd miss in the street despite their haircut and clothing remaining unchanged from my last meeting.

I could identify only one certainty in my journeys to Hackney, and it has relevance to the theme of enlightenment, and also to the reasons why I went there. It seemed as if to find Hackney you had to lose yourself. Sober, it was an effort, physically and mentally, travel as travail. It was easier under the influence, whatever route you took. It was easiest when influence was such that you couldn't remember what route you took at all.
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AFFECTION [Dec. 12th, 2014|09:36 pm]
metrocentric
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AFFECTION

Joseph Hermon Cawthra
Bishop's Park, Fulham
Before decapitation
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"Who are yer? WHERE are yer?" [Nov. 16th, 2014|03:05 pm]
metrocentric
The first I saw, I assumed was an adaptation to address a disability. It had that appearance. A short pole, with a small camera at one end. Then I saw another, and it occurred to me that it might have the utility of a periscope, to enable a tourist of modest height to take photographs over things and people.

Then I saw one in use, then another. The pole put the device - it was as likely to be mobile phone with a camera function - at distance greater than arm's length from the operator. It was take a photograph of the self, in a scenic context. In many successive contexts, hence the appearance of these poles, for that dedicated purpose.

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At the Victoria and Albert museum, the 'Disobedient Objects' exhibition. Heartening, at first, to see so many young people there. They are looking at the objects. They are photographing the objects... No, they are photographing each other in front of the objects.

Approximately twenty-seven items related to the exhibition are available in the V&A gift shop.

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My place of temporary exile is having a spasm of representative democracy in addition to that provided for in the usual timetable. A right-wing party has located itself to the right of the two other right-wing parties, who between them are poised to take the great majority of the local vote. That furthest-right party is having a very small march, which will later be truncated part of the way along the town's high street. But for now, they have assembled across the width of the inbound lane of the station approach road, occupying a space the depth of one car's length. They are opposed and outnumbered, to a ratio of approximately ten to one, by several hundred counter-demonstrators lining the high street's pavements.

A couple of people are in close attendance to the right-wing group; they are taking photographs of them, collectively and one by one. Ostentatiously, with bulky SLR cameras. They do not appear to be working on behalf of the right-wingers, nor on the part of the local constabulary. The resulting images may later be disseminated and archived, but the act of photo-taking itself appears to be the more immediate objective, and an end in itself. Each shutter snap is a tut of disapproval; it has rhetorical value.
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