So, a quick update on the Greenwich Ministry of Truth’s progress in shoving recent events in Woolwich down memory holes.
I was at The Woolwich Grand (frustratingly, we’re still not quite able to open as the planning hearing date which was scheduled for later on this month has now been pushed back to October…) yesterday and had a conversation with Mike, the independent filmmaker who had filmed the riots from his balcony. He’d ended up on Australian TV talking about the riots, while broadcasters closer to home displayed far less interest.
Mike and his colleagues at Jellyfielders had been there at the inception of the Woolwich Wall, the outlet for local feeling on the boarded-up, burnt-out Great Harry pub. People of all ages and backgrounds wrote on this wall, expressing feelings from rage to sorrow to hope. And no-one stole the pens that were put there for common use. And Danny Mercer gave a brilliant interview beside it. But, hey, guess what, while Peckham proudly preserves its Post-Its, the Woolwich Wall is whitewashed. Well, wiped out by battleship grey.
You’d think that after a display of societal breakdown, community feeling would be encouraged and celebrated by the powers that be. Out here it seems that Greenwich Council just want to pretend none of it happened – even the good bits. They even pulled out of attending a public meeting about how to move on after the riots, and just held a private one for local businesses.
Anyway, even if the council is determined to turn a blind eye to efforts of locals to rally round and build something good, the residents of southeast London are, frankly, so used to being ignored that they’ll just get on and do what they’re going to do anyway.
Provided they get the necessary planning permission…
Fingers tightly crossed for The Grand.