Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Who Present, Past, & Future sees
How does something become something else? When? Ok, smaller: how does a place become a different sort of place, or even somewhere else? At what point? Sometimes a striking new building changes a place, by accident or on purpose. How did the area and people around it change when the brand new Peckham library arrived? Or the Angel of the north? Sometimes it's more to do with the way we talk about somewhere. What happens when people start calling a place rough or trendy or regenerated/ing? What does it mean for the people living in an area for those descriptions to be true?
Many thanks to Luke Gaffney, who created the two pictures above to accompany my poem below. See the complete set of four on Flickr.
There was a bandstand built on the rubble of the Jago ghetto,
centrepiece of the new Boundary Estate.
The old bricks, soaked in Polio and soot,
stored deformity, simpleness, scrofulous behaviour,
a kind of plutonium of a time
before the outstanding visuals
of the twentieth century proper.
There was a point at which one thing ceased to be and another began.
A renaissance with a green pagoda.