My gap-filling quest for Bleeding London took me to Tooting today. And what better place to start than Amen Corner. Even though it has nothing to do with the 60’s band of the same name, it is nonetheless photographically impressive thanks to the old bank building – or at least it would have been under kinder lighting conditions. The glorious spring weather was very welcome from a feel-good point of view, but it did make for rather challenging conditions photo-wise.
I’ve said many times that each postcode seems to have its own characteristics and one that is evident in Tooting is garden kitsch. It might be that I just haven’t noticed it in other areas or it might be another example of contagion, but whatever the cause, there is a lot of it around. The miniature gnomes, synthetic suns, plastic butterflies and fake birds add a colourful jollity to the place and seem quite at home in the planted pots and patio containers, which – unusually for London – actually contain real flowers (well, in most cases).
As with other parts of London, Tooting has its fair share of abandoned mattresses, traffic cones and supermarket trolleys; and for the supermarket-trolley collector, the view of Lidl’s yard from the footbridge over the railway has to be the urban photographer’s equivalent of the penny black.
One thing that I’ve learned about London through the BL project is the way that streets are named in clusters. Tooting has a number of clusters, with my favourite being the Robinson Crusoe theme; there’s Robinson Road, Crusoe Road, Friday Road, Island Road, Daniel Close and Defoe Close. I did try to find pix that were relevant to the topic and was rather proud of achieving two out of six – okay, it’s a pawprint rather than a footprint, and as one of them is slightly out of focus with outrageous highlights, maybe I only deserve a score of one out of six.
I’m ashamed to say that until today, my entire knowledge of Tooting had been gleaned from Citizen Smith, so I was slightly disappointed to discover that there is no Freedom for Tooting movement. As a photographic adventure, however, Tooting did not disappoint; but despite the opportunities provided by the kitsch, the flowers and the architecture, I still reverted to type and my favourite picture of the day has to be the microwave oven perched on the litter bin.
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