South London pastoral
On to my music player comes Caetano Veloso singing "London, London", written when he was in chilly exile from the right-wing military dictatorship in Brazil. The eight words at the heart of the song sum up so perfectly what England is like: "Green grass, blue eyes, gray sky, God bless."*
Monday morning. The snow has settled. The schools are closed, the roads are still, many workplaces are shut. Blythe Hill park is clogged with kids on sledges, dads who have taken the day off. A sense of timelessness: could be a hundred years ago. It's a cliche to talk of London's villages, to talk about community spirit, but it was palpable. The TV talked about the billions lost to industry, but how does that compare to families actually spending time together? To adults - and teenagers - remembering how to be children?
A carnival feel. In carnival, there is a taste of a different life, the sense another world is possible. Not governed by the rhythms of labour and consumption. Beneath the snow, as the helicopter ambulance man on the news said last night, the definition disappears. The grid is whited out.
*Check out lovely cover (and great video) by another Brazilian exile in London, Cibelle
More South London snow: Transpontine, 853, Anette, Howard, Ali Kati, Bird Champ, David Marston, Moth. Bonus link: Beyond the implode.