London Facades. Photos: Mike Seaborne, text: Charles Jennings.

Clockwise from top left: Englefield Road, Bethnal Green Road, Willesden High Road, Whitecross Street.
© Mike Seaborne 2005, 2006.

Fag End London by Charles Jennings:

Two geezers in overalls flicking litter into a truck (‘Could’ve bleeding stayed in bed, didn’t know it was only this one’).

Keeping their ends up against the taggers and bomb artists on the main road. ‘That shouldn’t be allowed ’cause they laid out a lot of money’.

You’ve got your haggard local shops, giving out, giving in, ‘Houses & Flats Cleared, Apply Within’, a stupidly optimistic fingerpost.

The coughing of the birds, the single, muted noise of a car driving along in first a block away.

‘Big Reductions on Room Size’, with a tiny old lady picking at some cream-vinyl dining chairs stuck out on the pavement as if they were posionous, a dysfunctional boy pulling at the hair of a girl in a newsagent’s doorway, the sullen rumble of a train. Who’s going to be passing through?

Dead cars, living cars, stuff you do to your car, garages.

Those jaded avenues of small houses, the litter, the small shops, nervy pre-dereliction, the effort to keep up.

The midget shops, the kebabs, the roaming crazies (woman in a tank top scouring the bins: ‘Fucking said to him, “Fucking listen”‘).

This tomb of obscurity.

The dead concrete around the tube station, ruined retail outlets.

Drowning in toxins, grimed-up, catching screams from the estate on the west side, the traffic barrelling to hell on the roundabout.

Sort myself out a nice K-reg Astra.

It’s shy of life, but only because it’s keeling over.

… for The London Column. © Charles Jennings 2012.

Mike Seaborne:

London Facades is a series of photographs about the disappearing face of pre-corporate London. The project is London-wide and embraces a range of different facades, including shops, industrial and commercial buildings and housing.

The pictures are mostly taken in areas of the inner city undergoing regeneration – and in many cases gentrification – and the most suitable subjects are often found on the periphery of such redevelopment schemes where the blight seems more evident than the intentions to renovate or rebuild.