Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Middle Class Revolt, Madness & Rude Girls

Image result for millennium people ballard

'David, think of Joseph Conrad and Mr Kurtz, ' Kay told me when we crossed Richmond Bridge. 'You're entering an area of almost total deprivation.'
   'Twickenham? The heart of darkness?'

JG Ballard's tale of 'The Upholstered Apocalypse' kept me entertained on the 91 bus to Crouch End, a suitable destination since it's a bastion of the middle classes (where in London won't be in a few year's time?). But it's got a lot of charity shops, of course, they love giving to charity. A lot of psychiatrists too, hence its nickname, 'Couch End'. I even know one who lives there; well, a friend-of-a-friend. Even David Markham, the central character in Millennium People, is a psychologist.

So I'm sitting outside Beam on Broadway Parade when a voice says: "Two fifty-pound notes?" I look up from my notebook to see a 20-something boy carrying far too much weight under his loose casual clothing standing in front of me.
   "Two fifty-pound notes." He motions with a hand as if feeding himself. "To buy some food."
   I know Crouch End is expensive but even a cake from one of the 'artisan' cafes wouldn't cost that much, quite.
   "No, " I reply, matching his tone, which had been neither desperate not crazed, but perfectly calm, as if asking for the time. He ambles off without another word. The poor chap could obviously do with some therapy, but there he was, wandering the streets of the well-off. I doubt even they would give him two fifty-pound notes, though.

On the bus home there's a gang of girls sat at the back on the top deck - early-to-mid teens I guessed at a glance. They were singing, or rather rapping along to tinny beats coming from a smart phone. Quite entertaining. They had a captive audience, the bus was full of people pretending they couldn't hear. Typical London. Any kind of lunacy could go on and people will turn a blind eye unless directly threatened. The longer my journey went on the more intrigued I became by their vocalising, the seemingly random choruses, vocal outburst in rhythm. Suddenly they started singing "Lick my pussy and my crack". No, I misheard. Then they sang it again...and again. Yes, they were definitely saying what I first thought they were - outrageous. I had to laugh, to myself. They didn't sound mature enough to be singing from experience but perhaps I'm being naive there. The youth of today...I dunno...I'm pretty sure, though, that they weren't daughters of the middle class...

Meanwhile, centuries after Crouch End has been reduced to dust by an environmental apocalypse...


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