Sunday, 24 July 2016

London, I Love You

Despite the tragedies of Brexit, London remains wonderfully diverse. On Saturday night I travelled from my home in Wood Green to the depths of the south. Wood Green is like London was 25 years ago. It is knee-deep in litter. It has the kind of roughness that Lori McKenna celebrates in her song ‘BuyThis Town’. (McKenna’s song is one I always misremember. In my head the lyrics go: ‘maybe one day, I’ll have enough, to buy this town and keep it rough’.)
            From Wood Green I went to Brixton, a gentrified area that Wood Green could perhaps mimic 25 years from now. And from Brixton I went to Dulwich, which is like the village green preservation society. There is no litter at all.
            While there, I was among friends harking back to a song that used to obsess us, Donaeo’s ‘African Warrior’. This song is hilarious and brilliant and profound, perhaps the best combination of qualities that pop music can gather. It is one that I remember correctly: ‘I’m an African warrior, rolling with my stick in my hand’. On so many levels, I should not relate to this. But I do. It should not sound right in Dulwich, but it does. And that is why I love this town. 

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