Incantation

 

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SOLOMON: Mine’s gone up from three eight seven to four five two since I bought it.

GRAHAM: That’s alright.

STEPHANIE: But if you want real returns you’d probably –

CIARA: Its not just about the returns –

STEPHANIE: Would need to buy in an area that’s horrible now, but may become better, [To CIARA] what’s the place, your area, what is the name of that borough?

CIARA: Silvertown

STEPHANIE: Yeah, its going to be great someday.

GRAHAM: Someone said there’s a cafe opening there soon.

SOLOMON: Going to need more than a cafe to drag that place –

CIARA: Actually, there’s a really nice community there, I was in the hardware shop the other day, and this old man was telling me about the fish market that used to be there –

SOLOMON: Fish market?

CIARA: And how it was the place that people would come from all across London, and that there was this amazing club they’d go to, just by the river –

SOLOMON: Heaven?

CIARA: No, like an old place where bands would play…

GRAHAM: I know what he means, the Roundhouse!

STEPHANIE: That’s in Camden.

GRAHAM: No, there’s an old venue, like a pub now, used to have all these bands, Chas and Dave sort of thing, they’re trying to get it listed, so it doesn’t get –

STEPHANIE: Why do they always want to hang onto the past round here? I’ve got to look at some rusty old crane every day because its a “heritage landmark,” that’s what they told me, and is like a sign of what “the city was built on!”

GRAHAM: I quite like those –

CIARA: They’re a bit scary –

SOLOMON: Well its not built on them anymore – its all about the creative arts, that’s the UK’s biggest export now – used to be coal, now its Eastenders.

GRAHAM: Ha!

SOLOMON: No, it seriously is.

STEPHANIE: How does someone in, like, China get what’s going on in that?

SOLOMON: Yeah, watching the Mitchell Brothers beat up some “geezer!”

CIARA: Are they still in it?

SOLOMON: “Leave it ahht!” “Rickaaay”

GRAHAM: She hasn’t been in it for years.

STEPHANIE: And the East End is definitely not like that anymore – no way could any of them afford a house in Dalston.

SOLOMON: My Gran used to shop in Ridley Road Market – when I tell her that its all delis and bars and galleries she can’t –

GRAHAM: Yeah, my Dad said you just wouldn’t go to the East, it was a treat to go West, and you’d take the bus into town, meet at the Hippodrome, Kelly’s –

CIARA: I wonder if its always the East side of a town that is, used to be the bad bit?

SOLOMON: Or the South?

CIARA: Like the Lower East Side, or…

GRAHAM: Kreuzberg.

CIARA: Exactly!

STEPHANIE: In my town it was like that too…

SOLOMON: So where next? If every shithole area is “The New Shoreditch” then where will everyone live when its pure cafes and galleries and the rent is about two grand a month for some – this estate agent showed me a place when I was looking, and when we went in, it was in the basement, he just stood there, I was thinking “where’s my tour?” he points at this thin cushion thing that was in the dormer window, the raised wooden bit, and I realise that this was it – that was the bedroom, where you’d sleep curled up like a crescent moon, then he showed me the bathroom – the door banged against the toilet when you opened it, and you’d have to slip in – felt like a fucking coffin.

GRAHAM: God, that’s a bit –

SOMOLON: Thousand eight hundred a month.

STEPHANIE: I guess it is getting a little bit out of hand –

SOLOMON: [Estate Agent patter-style] And here you can hold your head in your hands, think on your life and cry, and very handily I must say, you can shit on the toilet and still be able to puke in the sink –

CIARA: In your kitchen!

SOLOMON: [Laughs, delighted that CIARA has joined in]

GRAHAM: But its, good, isn’t it? I mean, remember when we were first around here – I remember getting off the train at New Cross and thinking “God, hold on to your wallet” and went past that tatty little cafe –

SOLOMON: Tans! That’s a luxury flat now –

GRAHAM: And some bloke right away was asking me for a quid, someone else was trying to sell me a Travelcard, or buy the one I had –

CIARA: Local enterprise.

GRAHAM: And I thought, I’ve made a mistake coming here, this is –

STEPHANIE: Not quite Tunbridge Wells.

GRAHAM: I’m not from Tunbridge Wells, I’m – anyway – I did come to love it…

SOLOMON: I was thinking that the other day – walking up from the station, hadn’t been there in a while, and the place looks like a fucking computer game – like these massive yellow and blue and green glowing plastic towers have just been rendered suddenly, just popped up, and walking down the street, I didn’t feel threatened at all, no one wanted a quid, I went into some cafe –

CIARA: Its changed so much down there…

SOLOMON: And I feltwelcome and it served nice food, and I didn’t feel like some idiot ponce and get served some disgusting fried egg sandwich –

GRAHAM: Like out ofWithnail And I!

SOLOMON: And I miss those days – it was more real.

STEPHANIE: That’s – why? I mean, that’s ridiculous – why would you want –

CIARA: My hardware shop is being closed down soon. Crossrail.

GRAHAM: Exactly! Local business being sacrificed for some Star Wars joy ride of a train to whizz suits from Heathrow to Canary Wharf in ten minutes.

SOLOMON: [To CIARA] That’ll make your place more valuable.

CIARA: Hope so.

STEPHANIE: Especially when this cafe opens…

SOLOMON: The one in New Cross is called fucking “Birdie Birdie Num Nums” or some shit.

CIARA: Oh God.

GRAHAM: Fuck’s sake

STEPHANIE: But what’s the point? Why are we here? We came here because there is opportunity, because we can actually do something better than in [to GRAHAM] where was it again?

GRAHAM: It doesn’t mean we have to ride around on penny farthings with artisan baguettes under our arms –

CIARA: Actually, I can’t wait until the cafe opens – the baguettes in the Costcutter, “Delice de France” are always stale.

SOLOMON: Theyare shit.

STEPHANIE: [To CIARA] Would you ever go back?

CIARA: No way… or maybe when I was older… Actually, I do quite miss it sometimes…

SOLOMON: But when the only shop is a mile away and only opens between two and two fifteen every second Wednesday –

CIARA: Its like life takes up all your time there, just being, just going around and reading or walking or talking in the street – we did know everyone in the road then, but not so many anymore, but its like the place cared for you –

SOLOMON: London hates you. [To CIARA] Not you.

CIARA: And it was the place where you belonged, where you should be…

STEPHANIE: But if you were still there, what would you be doing?

CIARA: Not much, I guess. There’s not much call for Social Media Managers of Volunteer Environmental Reclamation Projects…

[Silence]

GRAHAM: I had to put a month’s mortgage on the credit card this month.

SOLOMON: Then put the credit card bill on the overdraft –

STEPHANIE: Why’s that? You’re all right, aren’t you?

SOLOMON: Wank off the dog to feed the cat.

GRAHAM: No, I’m fine – just the new job – a month in hand in pay.

STEPHANIE: Oh, yeah – well if you do need –

GRAHAM: Thanks.

CIARA: How is the new job going?

GRAHAM: Great – Its so interesting, learnt so much already. Get this – you take something like… your mortgage. All of ours. Package them all up together, then sell them on to someone else, who gets the payments. They are happy it safe, because we’re hardly not all going to not be able to pay them, and then people invest in those packages of mortgages, and it makes people more willing to lend each other money, as they have the reassurance that these mortgages are good, so we can get more credit, and new businesses start up, people can move here, the community develops, the place improves, all driven by these ideas…

SOLOMON: Isn’t this what got everyone in trouble last time? People relying on trailer trash mortgages that should have been rated two grades below dog shit?

GRAHAM: That was in America.

[Silence]

CIARA: [To SOLOMON] 457, you said?

SOLOMON: Yeah, and it keeps on going – I’ve got an app to check it.

STEPHANIE: See, its so good what we can do here – just our being here makes the prices rise, which draws the money in, which makes the community better –

CIARA: And when that cafe opens…

GRAHAM: Its a good time to be in London.

SOLOMON: A good time generally – we’ll probably look back on this as the start of something, like the Industrial Revolution – its going to be amazing to think where we can go next.

CIARA: I can’t even imagine it.

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