Sunday, April 02, 2006

"It's grim darn sarf..."

How places change.
En route to a reunion of old university friends and double birthday celebration in Bromley last night, I had the misfortune to drive through the Catford Gyratory, a town planner's fiendish folly I had hoped to have left behind for good since leaving Lewisham borough in autumn 2002 after 15 months (including what felt like 14 simply stuck in that one-way system...)
Despite giving my address as the more pleasant-sounding Forest Hill, I actually lived almost-exactly equidistant between than train station and Catford in the other direction, so several good-clean-fun-filled Saturday nights were spent losing and winning the odd 50p here and there at Catford dogtrack.
Sorry, that should be Catford Stadium, though the faulty illuminations presented this instead as CATFO DIUM - Latin, presumably, for "Seize the dog"...
Well, this has now unfortunately gone to the, er, dogs, leaving in triumph the 7ft black cat still crawling over the tawdry shopping centre.
I was a little surprised, though, to see a mainstay of Catford's shopping scene was also no more.
Plonked in the middle of that unloved gyratory, the blunt challenged of the Catford Gun Shop was always an arresting sight, especially alongside a more unprepossessing High Street fare of newsagents, fishmongers and Lewisham Council placards promising the dubious attractions of Joe Pasquale and the Nolan Sisters in this year's panto...
But after several decades of doing exactly what is says on the tin - or so I assume, having never set foot inside the shop, despite a certain appalled curiosity - the Catford Gun Shop has given way to an Italian pizza restaurant.
Far be it for me to peddle ethnic stereotypes, but I couldn't help calling to mind the strategic double-use of the pizzeria in Goodfellas, and especially the owner's irritation as rookie Henry Hill treats a gunshot victim bleeding to death on the doorstep...
"You wasted eight fuckin' aprons on this guy. I don’t know what the hell's wrong with you. I got to toughen this kid up..."

5 comments:

Aureala said...

Hi!

I came to your blog through Clarajean's (how did you know her?) and just thought I'd say hello. Your writings are really interesting - especially the ones on self-harm and the one on the Rwandan woman, Odette. Certainly made me think a bit...

Anyway, feel free to read my blog if you're curious enough, though I think you'll find it somewhat more random and flippant than yours!

Cheers from an ex-Londoner,

Aureala.

Mike said...

It must have been tough abandoning your North London roots for 15 months, I bet you were glad to escape. I abandon mine every day to go to work which is hard enough!

hangthedj said...

Apparently the Catford Cat is on his way out though...they are getting rid of him.

Lyndon said...

Will they have to call it "Ford" then?

Aidan said...

Arf...

Though the shopping centre it currently prowls over makes the old Bull Ring look like the Tiffanys by comparison...

Not sure you can really blame the cat, but still...

Mike - I also work just over the wrong side of the river myself. But I console myself with how it could be a lot worse - prior to those 15 months in Forest Hill, I endured two years in (gasp) Croydon... The post-traumatic stress disorder is still seeping in, several years hence...