I’ve wanted to do something like this for quite a while, but I’ve never managed to get it going. Sometime when travelling around the city, I am struck by scenes that will never become proper posts, but deserve a write-up anyway. These will form my vignettes, snapshots of the various corners of London from my perspective.
As dusk deepens, the high street is filled with the chatter and calls of vendors to potential customers to come inside and buy their wares. The street is flooded with shop lights, which darkens gradually further down the road as shops are replaced by quiet residences, whimsical floral street lamps, welcoming pubs and the last remnant of festive cheer in a large tree swathed in fairy lights. But on this end, darkness is forced back by those hoping for a good sale before closing. The shops seem to echo each other down the street, replications discernible by the changes in shop names, with a goat statue taking pride of place on one counter, and the smell of slowly decaying fish occupying another. Pungent meat and headless carcasses in clinically lit butchers reside next to veg and fruit stands, the interiors a riot of African and Caribbean seasonings, with fading Nollywood bootleg dvds decorating the edges. They are flanked by beauty supply shops, with gaudily made-up mannequin heads in the windows, adorned with luxurious piles of hair. Just behind them are packs filled with a dazzling array of cascading extensions in a variety of colours, textures and synthetics, as seen on many of the women walking by. The lonely ghosts of these shops litter the street, odd tumbleweeds drifting in the wind, their sheen lost in the grit of the street. Seeing such hair clumps feels at first repulsive, then slightly wondrous- they continue down the street as if in a lonely search for an owner. They are ignored by the families and elderly who continue to stop, examine or push through the crowds of sellers, people and buses to once again find their way home.