Big Issues :World Press Photography, Laughing Skulls and Quiet London

Waterloo station always gives me the sense that I am in Brief  Encounter. It makes London a set, a scene of its very Londoness. I forgot this kind of time when the rain has stopped on a weekday afternoon, the grey and the dried blood stained red of old bricks, everyone disconnected only familiar by the fact we are going somewhere. 

Passing under the bridge has the sensation of pulling the duvet up high on cold mornings. Contruction workers florescent jackets and the bumping handbags of single women thread from place to place. I pass the Duck Tour bus huddled up by the pavement. One day there will be time to travel on it, enter the Thames, lovely yellow cheery thing. Empty paths towards the eye with bored looking construction men and bin men on the grass, curves towards the faint gramophone voice of a singer. A melancholy busker sing La Vie En Rose in an old fashioned key. Her last verse is interrupted with strikes of Big Ben and a boat pushing a barge of what looks like coal but is probably waste. 

The second busker sings Driving Home for Christmas by a few food stalls. All has the atmosphere of the morning after a street party when all can be found are a few staggering guests and dropped paper from party poppers. I go to the bookshop and buy a large hardback of Day of the Dead faces and head upstairs. The World Press Pize photographs are something I stumbled on at the Southbank Centre a few years ago. It always strikes me the poignancy captured in the injustices and after maths on display. These moments of World journalism are worth going to see while you can. Strangers stand and stare together in silence, in thought. Today I learnt there are places in the world where public hangings often let the victim’s family kick the chair from under them. Another Image shows a victim of the Malaysia plane that was fired down over Ukraine. They are still in their airplane seat, safely strapped in and displaced in the grass field. 

I rarely watch TV and never buy newspapers, my information comes mainly through radio. These exhibition images importance speak for itself. 

The ‘not so secret, Secret Walkway’ from the bridge into Charing Cross is gated shut in unfairness. Idescend   the stairs like a limping pensioner and saunter up Vilier street wondering what next years press photos will show. A Big Issue seller asks if I want a copy and when I politely say no thank you the response is a grumpy ‘so that’s a no then?’ To which I have a go at him back as the day darkens and all the headlights quiver in the drizzle and someone is whistling a tune sheltering in a doorway. Men share a lighter beside the art shop in gloomy weather I cherish. London looks its best in rain, most cities do.  I buys pens and step out into their thick sickly smoke as they hail a cab..

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One thought on “Big Issues :World Press Photography, Laughing Skulls and Quiet London

  1. sara

    i remember seeing in a documentary film a victim of the lockerby plane disaster who was sitting upright strapped into the plane seat in the middle of a field, the image has haunted me ever since

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