Colourful fruits and vegetables on a stall on Peckham Rye Lane photographed on a cool white day.
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.’
I confess to a fascination for mannequins. Peckham often satisfies this particular interest, but with an added twist of zaniness. The model may have one leg, no legs or no torso. It may have a head but no hair. A mannequin might be perfect, except he has no arms. Still, he stands doing his job. Yesterday I spotted one of a child (headless) that I’d seen in an arcade months ago. She now stands in a different arcade, but wears the same polka dot dress. It was like seeing an old friend who had not changed with the passage of time.
Too much normality scares me. Is there a saying, normal is as normal does? Does that sound exciting? No. Give me a touch of eccentricity every time. Could be in the shape of a leopard, stuffed and resting on the refrigerator of a butchers on Rye Lane in Peckham. That’s my kind of neighbourhood and my kind of normal.
The revolution has got to start somewhere and why not with milkmen? Milkmen and their floats, the jingle of bottles, provisions for the nation. Come on, milkmen, let’s get it on.
In celebration of ‘selfie’ becoming the English Word of the Year (though Microsoft Word has not caught up and has underlined it in electric red), here’s my version. I’m on the Southbank outside the National Theatre, caught between Agitation and Arousal. Who am I kidding? I’m stuck in Agitation!
Desmond’s was the name of a barbers in Peckham and its exterior was the one used by the eponymous Channel Four sitcom that used to make us laugh in the late 80s, early 90s. I visited Desmond’s a few times. It was an environment with lots of character. Above is a snap of one of the well-worn chairs. Desmond’s closed a few years ago; the building is currently a print studio.
Blue Tit, a hairdressers, is new to Peckham. It is a palace of mirrors, lights and quaint dressing tables. And gorgeous chairs. It is, in other words, a splendid place. In time it, too, will develop real character.
But it makes me wonder about the neighbourhood. Will we go the same way as Brixton, and have our very own champagne bar any time soon?
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.