My interest in social housing and community derives from childhood, when I lived on a council estate. I wanted to document the regeneration of the Aylesbury Estate, South London. People are seen here amongst the demolition – both angry and positive – about the future of their community.
Below is a nod to Arments Pie & Mash, an outlet operating since 1914. To the north is the legendary Corsica Studios, a music venue. Charlie Chaplin, who lived at Elephant & Castle, is noted by his bowler hat and cane above the gimmicky but innovative Strata tower, with its rooftop wind turbines. A shotgun reminds us of the filming location for Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in the hyper-gentrified Borough Market.
Tapas Brindisa, today, still serving to the masses, crassly symbolised here by a bull and bottle of wine. Guy's Hospital is depicted as a soft drink and fries, commenting on diet and wellbeing. The Elephant & Castle, home to the London College of Communication, has a telephone and graduation cap on top.
I fell hard into London’s nightlife. This work is littered with its venues, clubs, bars and pubs – some still entertaining Londoners today; sadly, many are not. From the sweat-ridden walls of Bagley's to the ease of Jazz at the Vortex, those secret doors in Soho – a love for London’s scene is lifelong.
Here is Fabric – an institution for music and a well-known survivor. Nightclubs have steadily dwindled in London. But people want to party. They want to unite, share ideas and dance. It’s a badge of honour for all cities, a sign of tolerance and respect.
“Over the past eight years, London has lost 50 per cent of its nightclubs and 40 percent of its live music venues. This decline must stop if London is to retain its status as a 24-hour city with a world-class night-life,” Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, 2016.