Night Lights: Camberwell to New Cross at Night, a set on Flickr.
This photo set is the 83rd in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began last May, and after my recent publication of a series of photo sets from last July, featuring a journey through the East End to Stratford and the Olympic Park, on the eve of the Olympic Games, I thought it was time to return to the present — and also to publish some photos taken at night. For the previous photos, see here, here, here and here — and here for my journey around the perimeter of the Olympic Park.
As a result, I’m posting here a set of 15 photos I took at night a few days ago, during a journey from Camberwell to my home in Brockley, in south east London, after collecting my son from an art class organised by Southwark’s schools and the South London Gallery, and then escorting him to Denmark Hill station, to catch a train home. A month ago, in a set entitled, “Mostly Camberwell, At Night,” I published photos from a variation on this journey — from Brockley to Camberwell and back — although on that occasion I travelled back home through East Dulwich, and it was raining. On Tuesday, when it was dry, I cycled through Peckham instead, taking in a few council estates on the way — in Camberwell, Peckham and New Cross. Read the rest of this entry »
Mostly Camberwell, At Night, a set on Flickr.
Recently, I’ve been posting a variety of photos from my visit to the US in January, to campaign for the closure of Guantánamo on the 11th anniversary of the opening of the prison (see here, here, here and here), my more recent visit to Brighton for another Guantánamo event (see here and here), and the huge protest in Lewisham on January 26 to save the hospital from butchers in NHS management and the government (here and here). As a result, I have rather neglected my project to record the whole of London by bike, which I began last May, although I continue to cycle and photograph the city, and now have an unpublished archive of at least 10,000 photos, which, realistically, will only be made available if I make the project into something more formal than it is at present. Any advice on this — leads, contacts, funders — is most welcome.
To make amends for my distraction regarding my London project, I’m posting my 75th set of London photos, which features photos I took at night just two days ago, and I’ll follow up soon with other London sets, interspersed with more photos of New York from my US trip, and a last set — for now — of Brighton. Read the rest of this entry »
Real London: New Cross, Bermondsey and the Old Kent Road, a set on Flickr.
“Real London” is a short-hand, of course, for a London that is not the shiny one of glass and steel built and sold by property developers, and bought by those in the top few percent of earners — as well as by foreign investors. It is a world of workers, some of whom live in their own houses, having secured mortgages before the boom that began in the late 1990s, and often well before that, when it was still affordable for working people to take out mortgages and be able to repay them. Others live in social housing, built by local councils and run either by the councils or by housing associations, or, less frequently, owned or owned and managed by co-ops, and others have to cope with the increasingly greedy, unregulated private rental market . And amongst them, of course, are the unemployed — part of the current total of two and a half million unemployed people in the UK as a whole. According to the London Skills and Employment Observatory, 1.38 million people are currently either unemployed or “economically inactive” in London, and the unemployment rate is 8.9 percent.
These workers and homeowners were, perhaps, on salaries between the median and the average — currently £14,000 and £26,000, as I discussed in my article, The Housing Crisis and the Gulf Between the Rich and the Poor: Half of UK Workers Earn Less Than £14,000 A Year — but whereas in the past it would have been possible for a household on average or below average wages to buy a house, now it is completely impossible.
As I explained in a recent article, Unaffordable London: The Great Housing Rip-Off Continues, on a multiplier of three times earnings, which was how the housing market functioned before the Blair and Brown boom years, a couple buying a house in London for the average price — £388,000 — need a combined income of nearly £130,000, or something slightly less plus a whopping great deposit. Read the rest of this entry »
Since I began my project, ten weeks ago, to cycle the whole of London by bike, armed only with a camera, I have managed to become quite familiar with the whole of south east London, Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs, and the banks of the Thames — on the north from London Bridge to the Royal Docks, and on the south from Blackfriars Bridge to Thamesmead, as well as travelling to Stratford — in search of the Olympics — and back, and in this latest set, taken a few weeks ago on a bike ride into central London from south east London — to be followed imminently by a rainy set of photos from the City of London — I found some parts of south east London I had never found before — in Nunhead (in the London Borough of Lewisham) and Peckham, Walworth and Borough (in the London Borough of Southwark), and some that were familiar, which I came across in a largely unplanned manner.
The parts of London I have covered in the last ten weeks are, I concede, only a fraction of this vast metropolis, but the dozens of journeys I have undertaken have made me fit, and have stretched my eyes and my mind, which had become cooped up after six years of researching and writing about Guantánamo and the “war on terror,” and after the 21 months that I have spent railing against the cruelty and myopia of the Tory-led coalition government, which, through an obsession with destroying the state and privatising whatever was not already privatised by Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown, has initiated a savage and deluded age of austerity. Read the rest of this entry »
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