Sunday, 1 November 2009


Flipped car in South London. © Magnus Andersson

This is the sight which greeted the owner of this car one morning. She lives on an estate in south London and she is one of very few people who dares to stand up to the local gang members and drug dealers who use the communal stairwells to hang out in. She claims to know exactly who did this but without witnesses the police is powerless. Credit to her for having the guts to stand up to them though.

I live on an estate myself and there used to be a bunch of kids always smoking joints in the communal stairwell one floor below us. They always went quiet when I walked past them and I never said anything to them. One day, on the landing they always sat on, it had some furniture left on it from someone decorating their flat.

It was set alight on a Saturday morning but I didn't notice as I was asleep. I merely woke up at around 11am and found myself coughing up black bits of soot from my lungs. I opened the front door and the whole stairwell was pitch black with soot, the door, windows, walls, everything. Lots of people could have died because no one was challenging these kids.

Luckily, since this arson incident, those kids have not returned, but to this day I don't know if they actually lived in the building or not. Now I say hi to the kids around here and they say hi back. Not a big effort really, but to stand up like the aforementioned woman takes big guts.

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