The linked title above is a brilliant article first of all. It has peeped inside my views of London and so I want to share. I live in South (Sarf) Norwood, aka Norwood Junction. The quarter mile high street is stacked out with a kingly 18 afro hairdressers (now including an afro hairdressing school), 4 nail bars, 4 chicken shops, 3 chinese takeaways, 4 carribean kitchens, a pound shop, 3 polish newsagents etc. The whole place is beyond filthy. Mingingly dirty. There is a lull in the ceaseless heavy traffic only between 3 & 4 am. When I was running in the mornings before work (seems SO long ago..) I would work my fast twitching muscles hopping over and jinking around chunky piles of puke and fresh dog shit. The local Wetherspoons seems to open at around the same time I catch my train in the morning. We have a primarily summertime tatooed local that removes his top (save for hi-vis tabbard and an army rucksack) and goes through the 4 way traffic lights with the cars, his leg twitching like an itching dog waiting for the green light. It is a rat run for every ambulance coming out of the Mayday hospital in Croydon and is the acoustic equivalent of the Millbrook test track for ICE – I have been woken up fearing that the pane of glass adjoining our bedrooms was going to be rattled out by incredibly powerful sub-bass from the lowered Astra van waiting at the lights out front. While we are on the subject of motoring; seriously now, if the Met were committed to removing uninsured drivers without UK licenses they just need to roadblock South Norwood Hill. When crossing with my 2 daughters I watched a guy in a rusty metallic Volvo pull out from 5 cars back on a red light and drive calmly through a gap in the traffic going across the junction, his seat position was so reclined I seriously doubt he could see much more than the sky through the knuckles of the one hand he had on the top of the wheel – with hindsight this is probably a good approach to avoid too much consideration of surrounding motorists and pedestrians. We are also lucky enough to be the conurbation of choice for Crystal Palace FC home games. The pinnacle of this experience was having a confrontation with a guy I found pissing in our front garden who informed me (in this order) that he was; from Brixton (I responded that I was from Prestwood near Great Missenden as a courtesy) and was going to burn my house down with my kids in it. I have watched with growing disbelief as two African gentlemen left their house 4 doors up from mine, walked down the pavement in deep conversation, through our gate and attempt to urinate against the house. As a point of interest, they were considerably less aggressive when I invited them to leave.
All of this down at heel shitness, 15 minutes out of London Bridge and perilously close to Croydon and we absolutely love it. We will leave in the end but that’s more about the size of the flat and the cycle unfriendly hill as all of the above. The locals are friendly and funny (apart from the ones that certainly are not) There is a kick-ass Thai next to the model shop – did I mention the oasis that is the model shop?!? Norwood Lakes is total misnomer and massive surprise and the sad, former glory of the jaded, faded Crystal Palace Park is a short drive away. The halal butchers is one of the best, fruit and veg stalls are wicked, I can walk out of my door and be drinking a Dragon Stout in under 30 seconds – what’s not to like? We spent a lot of time waiting for those outriders of gentrification Caffe Nero to arrive in the hope that our property value would increase. Aside from the litter and dogshit I wouldn’t actually want to change much now – at least it keeps the c*nts away… that’s assuming one isn’t already living there of course….