The Holloway Road is one of the main arterial roads of London. It runs north from Highbury Corner, up to Archway. It is the beginning of the A1, a road which runs all the way up the east side of England until it crosses the border and heads through lowland Scotland to Edinburgh.
Holloway Road is a place nobody likes to say they live. During the house-price boom of the last 12 years, all surrounding districts have become sought after, expensive, chic places to reside, but somehow the appeal of the Hollow Way remains dubitable. I can’t see why – it is a place of mystery, industry and mayhem, with all the ingredients of a smash hit filmbooktvsitcomdvdcomicinteractivegamefestivalpamphlet.
People will say, “I live in Barnsbury, I live in Canonbury, I live in Tufnell Park, I live in Hornsey, I live in Highbury Borders.” Highbury Borders doesn’t exist. This is estate-agent-speak for, “I live in an area I can afford which isn’t very far from a nice place I can’t afford.”
See how beautiful the anti-cold-weather pavement grit makes the shadow of the railings in the afternoon light?
Though I detest it’s traffic and vomit and litter and the endless sirens, Holloway Road never ceases to amuse and amaze me. It’s the brash honest brother of the liberal poseur Upper Street, which has the town hall, over-priced chi-chi pancakes and vintage cappucino. Holloway has become the hub of the central american community, now that small over-bright Ecuadorian, El Salvadorian and Columbian bars have replaced some of the naffer caffs, playing loud latin music, selling good cheap one quid coffee, and meaty meals, and these are packed at the weekends with short middle-aged dark-haired men and curvaceous women and their teenage and young spilling out, all having a fabulous time in full view of the passing pedestrians and the endless stream of cars and trucks and buses. It’s not English at all, they don’t hide their pleasures or overdo them to the point of insensibility, no it’s all in the family, brazen, open, joyous, guiltless, onwards and upwards until 1 and 2am.
People here are crammed in 11,000+ per square kilometre, giving us at least 55,000+ stories in the local area alone. The story behind the handcuffs? Who knows. I found them here, right outside Argos, the cheap chav store, on the railings in the middle of the road. Maybe they were purchased at Fettered Pleasures or Zeitgeist, two of the several fetish clothing shops that have sprung up within easy crawling distance of the Central Library. Maybe someone decided to make sure these railings were going nowhere, not south, not north, keep them here. None of our railings in Canonbury, Barnsbury, Tufnell Park, Hornsey, Crouch End, none in Scotland, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Humberside, none in Berwick upon Tweed. None in Berwick upon Tweed Borders, which would be the North Sea.
No railings were hurt during the making of this film.
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