Up My Street. Photo: Dylan Collard, text: Charles Jennings. (5/5)

Mrs Darsham Patel, Nisa Food and Wine, Archway. © Dylan Collard.

Charles Jennings writes:

Booze

Booze in quantity: voluptuous and magical. There’s even a wistfulness in the expression on the face of the proprietess as she stands guard over (in all probability) a few grand’s worth of drink, as if it’s enough just to be close.

It’s a bit like an fabulous picture I once found in a Paris Match from 1952: a French family of four, posing with their entire annual food and drink consumption - Ce Qu’une Famille Française A Mangé Cette Année.

As you might expect, it shows two small parents and their two small children surrounded by everything they nominally consume in a twelve-month period: a double-page spread of scarcely credible eventfulness, containing entire sides of beef, whole pigs, several metric tonnes of bread and potatoes, some game, a lot of charcuterie, and, of course, alcohol.

Three hundred litres of wine; one hundred and sixty-eight litres of beer; fifty-eight litres of cider. The bottles are set out at the feet of the little quartet like a stockade, behind which they sit with understandable complacency. It is described as une ménagère économe, which nonetheless enables the mother and father to absorb well over a litre of booze a day between them (the kids are plainly too young), to say nothing of the apéritifs and digestifs (about four litres’ worth) which also grace the photo. As an advertisement of French priorities, it is hard to beat; and even now, has a cave-of-wonders feel which combines with a nostalgia for something one has never actually experienced, in a deeply affecting whole.

But it’s only the drink which makes one feel truly sentimental. The fascination of the stuff, bottled or poured, is really an inheritance from childhood – when it was not just dazzlingly jewelled in appearance, full of complex and occult signifiers, but also forbidden – and as such contains longings which are deep, unresolved, inadmissible. Just look at all that booze, glowing with the same coral intensity as the proprietress’s stretch top! How can she stand there so calmly?

… for The London Column.

Charles Jennings blogs on wine and other forms of drink at Sediment (‘I’ve bought it so I’ll drink it’)Up My Street is Dylan Collard‘s project documenting shops between Kentish Town and Archway. His exhibition The Twelfth Man is currently showing at Exposure Gallery, 22-23 Little Portland Street, London W1. Dylan is represented by the Vue agency. 

 


Up My Street. Photo: Dylan Collard (4/5)

The Security Shop, Junction Rd., Archway. © Dylan Collard.

Dylan Collard:

The Security Shop is, as you would expect, a local locksmiths and one that only opens when the owner fancies opening up.  He doesn’t really open in the winter because it’s too cold just to sit in the store …  The store is opposite the Wedding Shop and the Blue Carbuncle both of which feature in the series, but that have now both been forced to close.  Unlike the other shopkeepers on the road, the owner here is hoping for the arrival of a Tesco’s as it will bring in more customers.

Up My Street is Dylan Collard‘s project documenting shops between Kentish Town and Archway. His exhibition The Twelfth Man is currently showing at Exposure Gallery, 22-23 Little Portland Street, London W1. Dylan is represented by the Vue agency. 


Up My Street. Photo: Dylan Collard (3/5)

The Archway Cafe. © Dylan Collard.

David Secombe writes:

The genius of photography is the commemoration of the ephemeral; this is the reason why some of us are beady on the subject of digital photography, as it represents the commemoration of the ephemeral by means of the even-more-ephemeral. No such qualms arise from this week’s images by Dylan Collard, which were made using defiantly old-school methods. For his photos documenting the Holloway Road, Dylan lugged his massive Gandolfi ‘field’ camera (a device the size of a large hatbox, bolted to a hefty tripod) up and down that windswept, Stalinist boulevard to record scenes as quotidian as one could imagine.

In today’s photo, the proprietor (it can be no-one else) of the Archway Cafe poses for the camera in a way that we believe – we know – to be characteristic. Of course, he is having us on; he is playing the part of a surly cafe owner for our benefit, he knows that he is being memorialised for posterity – and Dylan’s limpid image preserves the shrewd glance of this short-order chef as if in amber.

Yet, if current trends continue, this commonplace scene is likely to disappear within a few years. The formica and the plastic condiment bottles already look like period pieces in this context, where they are employed as functional items rather than archly retro decor.  This is not a cafe for budding screenwriters with their MacBook Pros, or middle-class mums with Range Rover-sized prams and Orla Kiely infants, but it can only be a matter of time. The hipster-friendly make-over of the Holloway Road is upon us with the inevitability of a melting ice shelf. And perhaps that is why our man in the Archway Cafe is so watchful, he might be keeping an eye out for the wrecking hordes: the girls with oversized glasses, cut-off shorts and day-glo leggings, the thin young men with buttoned-up plaid shirts, skinny jeans and implausibly bushy boybeards … an army of destruction as potent as any in history.

… for The London Column. 

Up My Street is Dylan Collard‘s project documenting shops between Kentish Town and Archway. His exhibition The Twelfth Man is currently showing at Exposure Gallery, 22-23 Little Portland Street, London W1. Dylan is represented by the Vue agency. 


Up My Street. Photo: Dylan Collard (2/5)

Laurence Evans, Second Chance, Archway Roundabout. © Dylan Collard.

From Born and Bred – Stories of Holloway Road:

Laurence Evans was born in Whittington Hospital in 1952. He lived first in Poynings Road and then moved to Caledonian Road where he has lived since 1962. He has volunteered at Second Chance charity shop at 7-9 St John’s Way, in the middle of Archway roundabout, since 2008.

“We’ve got a couple of customers, like a lady called Jenny who comes in and has a cup of tea or coffee and a couple of biscuits, she comes maybe three times a week and there’s a couple of other people who just come in for a cup of tea and they just like the atmosphere and the service.”

“Barry [the manager] and one of our volunteers Basil, they do all of the window displays and a lot of people have commented that the windows are very nice, and ask ‘do you have a professional come in?’ and no it’s just done by volunteers who have a knack for doing window displays. I don’t think I could do that. After Christmas we just did a purely black and white window and people commented that it was a very nice difference. A lot of people say ‘Oh I like that in the window, is it for sale? We don’t want to disturb your window display’ and I say ‘No, everything in the window is for sale’. So you have to take it out of the window and sell it to the customer and then try and find something to replace it.”

The above interview is taken from Born and Bred, an oral history project by Rowan Arts documenting the life of the Holloway Road. You can hear more at www.storiesofhollowayroad.comUp My Street is Dylan Collard‘s own project documenting shops between Kentish Town and Archway. His exhibition The Twelfth Man is currently showing at Exposure Gallery, 22-23 Little Portland Street, London W1. Dylan is represented by the Vue agency. 


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