Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Fuck Seb Coe

Sometime in 2005 our household began the semi-regular activity of industrial tourism: sunday jaunts around the post-industrial urban wastelands of east London. We visit Beckton Alp, Woolwich and the Thames Barrier and, of course, the Wick. By this time the shocking news that London had trumped Paris has broken and interest in documenting the Lea Valley as it stands is beginning to peak. It's days are numbered, community groups are mobilising, but the awareness that the unstoppable juggernaut of urban progress is finally going to wipe away this forgotten backwater could not be keener.

Over the next few months I return, both alone and accompanied, to absorb the details. We pass other pre-Olympic tourists on the towpaths, clutching the variety of imagined maps and landscape schemes that the Bid has produced, trying to marry up the overgrown present with the .pdf future. Anger is in evidence everywhere. FUCK SEB COE is scrawled on the footbridge over City Mill River and local businesses have teamed up to produce banners protesting their compulsory relocation.

It's in the sloganeering that the transference of ownership is first revealed. As site visits by the Olympic Commitee are announced the dissenting voices are quickly painted out and slick Olympic graphics replace the angry block caps banners. The same strategy of erasure is now being used, not only wholesale across the landscape itself, but on the blue fence against all the grafitti for which it openly begs.

Photos by Martin Lewis, thanks.

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