Thursday, May 19, 2016

Seeing gentrification through rose tinted glasses


This afternoon my heart leapt a little when I saw that Bold Tendencies had tweeted a photo of man in blue overalls standing in a candy-floss coloured stairwell. “I know that stairwell” I thought, “that’s bloody Peckham multi story car park!” 

Considering that Bold Tendencies are the people behind Franks bar, it’s not too surprising that I made this association, but having spent my entire life in the area, my first reaction was pretty visceral... a mixture of excitement, glee and disbelief. 

Roll back to 2002, it’s my birthday and me and my family are going to see the Scooby Doo movie. 


Before it had a trendy bar on it’s head, Peckham carpark was somewhere you parked your car if you wanted to go to Peckham cinema or Woolworths. To get out of Peckham carpark and into the cinema there are two options. You either take the lift (which smell like piss) or the stairs (which smell like piss, but feels less like being trapped in particularly unpleasant portaloo). 

We opt for the stairs and make a run for it. On this particularly occasion, I distinctly remember seeing a human poo. You might say, how do you know it was a human poo? But trust me, you know. 

Another time, my dad is taking me and some friends to the cinema. This time we opt for the lift. In the lift, there is/was a really dodgy looking security camera, a scratched mirror and this time, another poo. I say ‘ew is that poo?’ and mentally curse my dad for not taking us to Surrey Quays instead.

So you understand my reaction to the news that the inside stairwell of this relic of 1980s brutalist architecture has been painted Barbie pink in the name of an art installation called ‘hey boo, I love you’It really is completely, utterly and hilariously absurd. 

Annnd I love it. I haven’t seen it yet, but I love it.

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