London’s ancient heart has crawled under the floorboards and died…


The Tenant, Paramount Pictures, 1976

From The New Statesman:

As a friend of mine, new to parenthood, once said in a tone of maximal outrage, when he found out how much a wooden Duplo train cost (not the set; just a train carriage): “I could get sucked off for that!”

Once again I have to accept that one of the prices of living in a swish part of town is that you will not find a takeaway that will give you a stomach-bursting portion of ho fun noodles for under a fiver.

So, off I go to the pub, to see my friend Toby-Who-Is-Not-Toby-Young-How-Many-Times-Do-I-Have-To-Repeat-This?, for a catch-up and a chuckle over the latest Viz. This is all very pleasant but, as I make my way back to the Hovel from Edgware Road Station, I am accosted from the other side of the road by Darren, the manager of the Duke, where I used to go a lot when I had funds.

It is now past closing time but he pours me a whisky and tells me the news: the leaseholder plans to shut the place down and replace it with luxury flats – as if there were any other kind here these days. This, despite the Duke making money hand over fist.

And I think of the bank and the poncey restaurant and all the shit buildings that are going up all over the place and all the rest of it – and I know what has crawled under my floorboards and died. It’s London’s ancient heart.

“They’ve taken the MDF wall down in my local NatWest. Now you can see what banking used to look like”, Nicholas Lezard, The New Statesman