This cat is another of Peckham’s characters and can often be seen on Rye Lane outside an African shop to which, I believe, it belongs. Its habit has been to sprawl (elegantly) on the pavement oblivious to shoppers, buggies, trollies, etc. One is forced to step around it, as one might with royalty. But the other day, it appears the cat met with a belligerent dog and the cat came off worse. At first it was rumoured to have been killed. It wasn’t but it was seriously injured and now has a patchwork of stitches on its chest. Last time I saw the cat it was resting close to the shop, out of harm’s way.
Colour is so important to us. See a cheery one, a dismal one, a dull one, and it’ll do something to your mood. Elevate it or depress it perhaps. And here’s this lady in a resplendent pink with a bit of dazzle standing against some in-your-face posters. She’s waiting for a bus at the top of Rye Lane. Going where? Nunhead, Forest Hill, New Cross, Sydenham: they’re all up the road. Different roads… some of them start from here.
Peckam is the talk of the town. The Evening Standard and Time Out reckon it’s the new Shoreditch or the new Hoxton. In any case it’s trendy and if you’re hip this is the place to be. Of course, this can cause tension between those who live here because they love it as it is and those who see potential for change – some of it radical – to make it more Hoxton-like, more sanitised.
So far, Rye Lane looks pretty much as it has done; still full of small independents, many selling food. My pet-love is the butchers with their infinity of chickens. It’s done with mirrors. Admittedly, this picture shows only a suggestion of infinity because there has been a serious decline in the number of chickens displayed in all the shops. Something to do with food safety issues? On the other hand, the butcher comes as a set of three.
These haunches of animal flesh put me in mind of a Francis Bacon painting where he manipulates anatomy so that it bursts its physical constraints… so that it mutates into a bloody abstraction that pulsates with a life both repellant and fascinating. I took this photo in one of the legion (some might say, legendary) butchers on Rye Lane in Peckham. I reckon these are the half-bodies of goats. And for the price, they’re a bloody bargain. To quote Bacon: ‘We are potential carcasses.’
Seconds after I took this photo a man rushed out of the café. He said I’d have to give him £100 to take his photo. But I didn’t want to photograph him, only the bike. Besides, I said, I don’t make money out of doing this. I added that I’ve been photographing in Peckham for years because I love Peckham. ‘Oh, you love Peckham, that’s alright then,’ he said. Peace restored, I walked away from the upside-down tangerine bike and the land of Ozzies.
This guy is perched at the top of Rye Lane. He’s selling phone paraphernalia but what draws the eye are the watches (bleached out in the photo by the sun) studded with diamonds, rubies, emeralds. A man asks the price. They are £15 each. He examines one but doesn’t buy it.
The buses were stacked up on Rye Lane in Peckham so I had to belt along past two buses to reach the one I wanted. En route I spotted this gentleman and quickly snapped him. His stylish headdress is, I imagine, from Afghanistan. I thought about asking his permission to photograph him full-on, but buses wait for no man. As it happens the driver shut the door just as I got there and motioned for me to return to the bus-stop so I ran back there and he kindly reopened the door.