Wednesday, May 20, 2020


Down by the river, where I went to get a breather, I stood beside the big new high blocks of glass-built flats, like an X-ray of a stack of buildings with their skins peeled off, and watched the traffic floating down the Thames below them, very slow and sure (chug, chug) and oily, underneath the electric railway bridge (rattle, rattle), and past the power station like a super-cinema with funnels stuck on it. Peace, perfect peace, though very murky, I decided. Hoot, hoot to you, big barge, bon, bon voyage. There was a merry scream, and I turned about and watched the juveniles, teenagers in bud as you might call them, wearing their little jeans and jumpers, playing in their kiddipark of Disneyland items erected by the borough council to help them straighten out their thwarted egos. When crash! Someone thumped me very painfully on the shoulder blades.
- Colin MacInnes, Absolute Beginners (1959)

It isn't directly mentioned anywhere, but those in the know will recognise a description of the Churchill Gardens estate in Pimlico, where my dad grew up. The playground was still there in the 1980s (maybe it's still there?) and dad used to take me and my sister to it when we were down there on visits to our granny. Anyway, this is probably the estate's only literary appearance.

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