Friday, 17 December 2010

Poets Captured in Colliers Wood

Now as far as I know no one has ever written a poem about Colliers Wood before, and I feel extremely reticent about doing so.

It's a bit cliched penning an elegy to somewhere just because you live there and walk through it every day, although I suppose it is logical that Colliers Wood will impact on what I write because of the amount of time I spend there.

But I would never want, nor would it be possible, to get all sentimental about a place that is only there basically because the very concept of a conurbation would not allow a big gap of nothing to exist (if "nothing" can exist) between Tooting and Wimbledon, just because my bills get delivered to an address containing its name.

Not that there is anything particularly wrong with Colliers Wood....but there's not much right either.

It does have isolated patches of urban beauty amongst the sprawl of the retail parks. The Wandle flows serenely past Merton Abbey Mills before tip-toeing round the side of SavaCentre and jogging confidently on towards Earlsfield. Wandle Park is very peaceful but it's verdant in a sort of dogshit and crisp packet way.

The Sri Lankan restaurant is a fine addition to the cuisine of South West London but the Ode to Squid Curry is one poem that does NOT need to be written.

Other than that Colliers Wood is a couple of bad chicken takeaways, some dreadful pubs and a mass of out-of-town shopping experiences lived out in the suburbs.

There is the windiest entrance to an Underground Station in all of London, where many a carefully groomed hairstyle has gone tits up.

There is an tower block (blamed for causing said winds that have lead to the area being known as an umbrella graveyard), a skyscraper of sorts that can be seen all the way from Mitcham.

And then there is the SavaCentre, a mega monolith to consumerism, a hypermad hypermarket, that looms over the area like some silvery grey Uluru.

So, bearing all this in mind, why the fuck have they built a Holiday Inn in Colliers Wood?

They have taken this building that looks like bad lego and dropped it down next to the Victory.

Who on earth do they expect to stay there?

Do they think that hordes of tourists will flock from the four corners of globe seeking squid curry? Are they trying to attract a passing trade of motorists for whom Tooting is simply too far to drive?

Can we expect tour groups of Aborigines coming over to climb the sacred walls of SavaCentre?

Will coachloads of French people come over from Calais to shop there and stock up on Marstons Pedigree bitter when it's on special offer?

Will there be conventions of poets looking to capture that dogshit and crisp packet feel?

Poets trying to capture any sort of feel?

Or just poets captured in Colliers Wood.

Written c1999

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