Thirteen years of Labour gave us roulette wheels, betting shops and super casinos. Four years of Tory-led coalition have filled these places up with the desperate and the looked-down-upons. I walk down the newly refurbished area in my barrio (newly as in recent, as in ten years old roughly) and witness the opportunities: the new Jamaican takeaway, the chic-looking café and the well-stocked patisserie. But they are outnumbered by the fast joints and the betting shops: KFC, Dixie’s and Texas Fried Chicken on the one hand; Coral, Paddypower and Betfred on the other one. At both ends, north and south, Costcutter and Poundland ensure that the merchandise produced cheaply abroad is always in demand here.
|The only option?|
It’s their posture. They don’t drag their feet and they don’t stoop; they walk erect, tall, proud. They laugh a lot but keep the same straight posture. Like two black stems rising from the bare earth amongst rocks and brambles. Their demeanour means something, but I don’t know what. Against the backdrop of the popular greasy spoon opposite Tesco and next-door to the recently-opened Pawnbroker’s, I want to find a meaning to their presence here, other than the only logical explanation: they are going to school. The sole thought in my head is that they are the future, a future marked by their steps: one, two, three, four, no more bookies on our door. Five, six, seven, eight, a different future we want to create.
Next Post: “Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music”, to be published on Sunday 18th May at 10am (GMT)