A phrase I have often heard in relation to Peckham is that it’s a ‘melting pot’. But as a description of cities, it’s usually a false analogy, one that has globally given way to the metaphor of a ‘salad bowl’. And while some cities do better jobs than others of encouraging that salad to be fully mixed, in many cities we see fragmented communities segregated down lines of culture and interest, operating alone in the same space.
At the edge of a ploughed field sits a burned-out Smart car. Its squat dimensions make it appear as if compacted in a Thames Estuary wrecker’s yard, prior to being set alight. The carcinogenic hulk against a pastoral backdrop is a particularly Essexian sight, as is the detritus scattered around it: a chalky, transparent baggie and a discarded Durex packet — Es and sex.
You drive through the clouds to get somewhere ... Outside, the road disappears into cloud as if into heavy snow. The air is thin and damp, your lungs feel infinite in their greed. All the colours were left behind at a certain altitude and you will go back for them.