Thursday, 28 June 2012
A not so secret history of our streets.
We are pretty easy to spot. Usually male and rarely young we favour good quality if shabby apparel. Sensible footwear and a small rucksack slung over one shoulder complete the outfit. We are London's small army of urban explorers and psychogeographers and I imagine that we will be out in force today, wandering down the subject of last night's episode of BBC 2's A Secret History Of Our Streets, Notting Hill's Portland Road. The series itself has been fantastic but if you don't know an area it's easy to forget that documentary films are just that and should never be confused with actual real life. I enjoyed last nights offering in spite of the array of horrendously arrogant rich who appeared. I bet they just love the carni, and that's another thing; this was a totally white Notting Hill. Not only did we not see a single black face but there was not even a mention of the Windrush generation, the biggest change to post-war Notting Hill and the reason why all those middle class bohemians wanted to live there in the first place. In many ways I found this to be quite surreal film not least because of the interview with the seriously strange Henry Mayhew, a man of such self importance that I was unsure if he might be just winding us all up. Very odd - and very, very rich.