Stuff about the city where I live!
Blood sprayed across the ticket hall floor
Capes caught and torn in moving rails
Horns and scales and devils’ tails
Make-up smudged some hours before
Biting, fighting, broken jaw
Cuts and slashes, tears and gashes
Blades and bottles, glints and flashes
Of steel, red handprint on the door
Claws and punches, noses broken
Howls and screams and curses spoken
Text of the George Lansbury Memorial Lecture, given on 16 November 2016 at Queen Mary University, London.
Right, you lot, before you get pissed
Commit to memory this fucking list
This lot are barred.
Rhythm tapped out by the
flats of the wheels of the
train with its steel drum re-
frain, past allotments and
rubbish heaps, rubble and
people in trouble, past
ivyed embankments where
knotweed grips coke cans, di-
gests the degradables,
strangles the cables and
chews up elastic bands,
spits out the plastic bags
A tale to tell along the track
The corner of a byroad
A box in the paper edged in black
For the dame of Chiswick High Road
With operatic majesty
Her leading man and she
Played out romantic tragedy
In harmony, in key
Based on a true incident ...
Paula was tired from a day out protesting
Paula was on her way home, needed resting
She slumped on the train and
She winced against pain and
She thought, "Days like this one are testing"
A guided tour round Minnie Lansbury's Bow, east London.
If you would like to arrange for me to take you on this guided walk, please email me.
Thanks to Andrew Gellert and Jen Blane for the photos.