Monday, May 10, 2010

Poplar and Limehouse: The Fight For Broken Britain

I spent a lot of time walking around Poplar and Limehouse in the first three months of this year: some of it with the local Conservatives, some of it on my own. It's a very, very strange place. Here's the fruits of my wandering: a chunky piece of reportage for Five Dials, Hamish Hamilton's superb free literary magazine. Issue 12 is the one you want, 'The Utterly Broken Britain Issue' - download it, print it out, read it in a park somewhere. Then subscribe for future issues. 

Halfway down the promontory lies Millwall Outer Dock, a sort of inland lake bordered by houses and warehouses. Chained-up canoes sit stacked by its side, buildings lie dormant, one light in every ten turned on. The spring gloaming casts a beautifully dim light over the water as dusk falls, and to my amazement the only sound is a very distant murmur of traffic, and the somnolent squawking of seagulls – literally hundreds of them – drifting off to sleep on the water. Not one person passes me in half an hour sitting by its shore. For a place teeming with the ghosts of empire, hard labour, hard liquor, sailors and prostitutes, it’s almost unbearably tranquil. This Britain isn’t broken: it’s just quiet to the point of being unsettling.


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2:30 AM  
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Dan you should have passed by the Council!

Will check the article.


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