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Written on March 4, 2005, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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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.

Watch video about Holloway Road.

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This thing has 11 Comments

  1. Clayton
    Posted 6 March, 2005 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    looks fairly lovely to me. But then, all of that part of the world does.

  2. Laurie
    Posted 6 March, 2005 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    Beautiful pictures. The Central Americans sound like my Cajun relatives.

  3. Jay
    Posted 6 March, 2005 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I wish I loved my living quarters half as much as you do. All I can say is that I live with a bunch of nosy seniors who manage to flood their property on a weekly basis at least. Ugh.

  4. 8ZERO8
    Posted 7 March, 2005 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Lovely photos. And a lovely story, too.

  5. Fist
    Posted 15 March, 2005 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I live just off Holloway Road and don’t mind saying it. Good curry.

    Its, not it’s, btw.

  6. Shoe
    Posted 14 April, 2005 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Holloway Rd brings back memories. Mainly that of the dole office and the Benefits office up at Seven Sisters, and being arrested for buying illegal fags. Oh the joys. Its a pretty ok place really, there’s something comfortably non-pretentious about it that I really like.

  7. LauHa
    Posted 13 April, 2007 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    Ohh, I lived there and made some of the BEST memories of my life. Holloway Road forever holds a place in my heart!! I surely miss that road!

  8. steve
    Posted 16 June, 2007 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Holloway Road is a shit hole no matter how flowery the poetry used to describe it. I go there for Waitrose, my barber and very occasionally the Post Office as I live up the road in Christ knows where, Barnsbury Holloway borderish, I can’t work it out. I just say Holloway and inwardly wince as I am a bit of a sad pretentious prick. I do like living around here though, it’s quiet where I am but the noise (if I want it) is just a few minutes away and everything London has to offer right on my doorstep. Marvelous.

  9. Indigobusiness
    Posted 18 August, 2007 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    It’s pretty obvious those handcuffs were there for you to attach to your wrist of choice and await the authorities.

  10. James
    Posted 28 April, 2008 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I live in Holloway Road, and i can relate to a lot of this article. However on Sunday morning it was closed, because people had been stabbbed outside my flat!



  11. lazycamel
    Posted 28 April, 2009 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    I love Holloway Road!

    Best mis-spent years of my life were mis-spent up and down and around it!

    God bless the Equadorians the Kurds and the Turks! And goddamn the Met for cleaning up the illegal cigarette trade.

    I sort of miss London, actually.

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