Saturday, 4 October 2008

Open House 2008 - Woolwich Barracks

Hmm, a week since my first post, I'll try and do better... on Open House Sunday I bussed it to Woolwich to take the Woolwich Barracks tour. Although the Royal Artillery may have left (though the King's Troop seem set to return in a year or so) the Guards regiments formerly housed at Chelsea will move here - indeed the parade ground is being extended for rehearsals of Trooping the Colour.

The Royal Garrison Church of St George was also open - or what remains of it after it was hit by a flying bomb in 1944. Whilst I can sympathise with the decision not to rebuild it, the obvious weathering of the fine murals of St George was a cause for concern. Clear perspex panels would surely help to ameliorate this.

1 comment:

rebecca said...

Red jacket in SE8

Red jacket on.
To the river, the cranes of Aragon Tower on the left
Past the new builds: Deptford's Neo Glasgow school.
On the second floor of post-tenement irony, soft grey bulk in a window
pressed against the glass, a woman holds her baby.
Pale dough cheek and winter glass.
A kiss in the frame of new builds,
Hope, and brushing her baby against her skin. Back wide and happy.

Red jacket on.
Black boys kiss their teeth and sing low.
Don't understand the architectural hymn and make up their own
Praising space and acoustics of breeze blocks.

Red jacket on.
I dream of bikes, of American beach bikes, of not being hungry.
By my side, wind dances on the curl of the river.
Water curls like 50s hair held neat by a grip. Moon high. Ripples combed.
Coiffure fetched up along with long stemmed pipes.
Narrative unfolds across on the opposite bank.
They should have left Canada Tower to its singular erection -
Now it's crammed uptight with short-arsed, square-shouldered bankers
And we have lost our vicarious view.

Red jacket on
On my way to the place I have lived longest since . . .
The hoarding of the old tower block are graffited
But Deptford's new penthouse will be accessed from another county.
Beached. Fetched up, bloated corpse of council wretch.
Or hanging, swaying in the ancient breeze on Peninsula Way SE - Chip &pin.
‘D'you know your number?’

Red Jacket on - plump with feathers, it keeps me warm while I dream of not being hungry.
White, middle-class woman in promising Deptford. Going home and dreaming of not being hungry.

Deptford’s a whore.
Her eyes are smeared with boot polish from Canary Wharf’s nouveau shoeshine
And she’s coloured her hair bright business.
She smiles a lot, but her teeth, though bleached, are rotten.
Staggering away, then towards, she proffers a can or syringe, and bows low as I pass.
I can feel her sneer, because she knew Grinling Gibbons when he made voodoo dolls for the sailors
And Kit Marlow before he got an agent. And whispers: ‘Nothing ever gets better than it was.’
So now has shares in Atavistic Gilt.

Red Jacket on.
Smoothing nearer home. In Deptford Wharf, some
neighbours have turned their car on and are dancing to it. Stop. Noise off, sudden as lights.
Distant lullaby of sirens. Poverty, prospect, quick enterprise,
the washed-up rumours of European funding, all twist silently in the latch.
Final trickle of commuters from the ferry at S.E.16’s Greenland Pier,
spill like mercury from a broken barometer.
But they go the other way.
Same applies.