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The Alternative Landmarks of London | Reggie Bolton

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

To those outside looking in, London appears to be no more than the sum of its landmarks. Standing at one of these monuments, you can really understand this sentiment. It is a city scattered with frankly strange obelisks, surrounded on all side by scenes of the past and impending future.

One of the best oddities (best questions) of these staples of London is why they are there, when were they put there, and what for? I’d been to monument at least ten times, and yet regrettably still had to resort to google. As it transpires it’s there to commemorate the great fire of London. Still, I could never bring myself to find out when it was built.

The purpose of all landmarks, I suppose, is quite simple. They are here to intimidate, discombobulate, and brag. They give of the simple message of: if we can do this just imagine what we can do to you. In a city with so many I suppose the question is: what are their importance now?

The big ones are simple, money. Some of them bring it in faster than banks on the wharf. The little ones possess the fascination of the locals, and are telling of the general state of this dystopian city of lost children.

A personal favourite is Bugers Park. It is the best example of live action history and rebellion. It is, of course, a place for fucking. Round every tree you’ll find a gaggle of strange men bumping anything bump-able. It’s a true place that understands itself. This is the park where, throughout history, an oppressed queer population could congregate and engage in an act of protest. It’s a monument without signs or markers that is kept alive simply by its continued use by a group that still has to have its own spaces.

Likewise, on Brick lane there is a small bagel baker that has stood in the same spot for longer than most care to remember. It has seen squaller and gentrification but has itself never faltered in its ownness. The staff are brash, there’s no seating, and the whole place is stuck in one renovation that was completed maybe 60 years ago. Then there's a small farm in the city centre. It is run by volunteers, producing fine local products in an attempt to bring some nature back to one of the biggest former industrial zones in Europe. These are the standing, living, alternative landmarks of a city where the states monuments like to shadow you. These things are the true beats of a London with a gradually slowing humanity.

Oh, and happy new year everyone x


Reggie Kevin Albert George Bolton is our 'in house' tech wizard and London corespondent.

Reggie is a dyslexic writer who holds a First Class Honours in Creative Writing from MMU. Reggie is at the forefront of his 'dyslexic nouveau' style for which he has been celebrated for.


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