21:30 Friday 13 December 2013 Nunhead Heights
This is the first of a run of posts where I will try to emulate British comic Richard Herring by writing for only 30 minutes each day as a “warming up” exercise. Hitherto, I have taken hours and hours to write each blog, only to find that unsurprisingly it has taken hours and hours of my day. I don’t think I have ever used the word “hitherto” before.
Today was not a very good day.
Or rather, the last 24 hours or so weren’t very good.
Yesterday I saw a notice from the Council on light pole in Nunhead Heights. The dreaded parking controls were coming to my street in SE15. Up until now there has been basically unregulated free parking in the Heights.
I have been waiting for the Council to come up here, in the name of “traffic flow” “and “safety”, and remove parking from my neighborhood. They’ll do anything to make traffic go faster from down there to over there, without caring about what goes on right here. And think about the revenue.
I was sickened to see the notice.
My mind melted into anger and then panic, knowing that I would have to do something to stop this outrage. No one else would care or understand.
I, and I alone, would have to explain to local people the evils of the yellow lines. I would have to educate Nunhead, and then the Council, on how removing on-street parking speed up traffic, make streets more dangerous, kill small shops, and generally destroy neighborhoods.
I thought: I don’t have the time, nor the energy, not the stick-to-it-iveness, nor the power of Mandela to convince people calmly! But who else it going to do it? No one.
But deep down I know won’t do it either.
Like last year, when I wrote a couple of posts about the destruction of the beautiful woods in Camberwell Old Cemetery. Did anyone else do anything about it?
No, this will have to be different.
And I am a comic, or try to be, and I am not allowed to be too serious. The more I try to be serious, the more people hate me. And enough hate me enough. American comic Will Rogers said that a comic is dead when he takes himself too seriously, or when the audience takes himself too seriously.
I am deathly serious a lot of the time.
The plan was to put parking restrictions on the north side of Stuart Road and the west side of Borland Road. A couple of roads.
Or so I read.
I took the first step: I sent out an email to my fellow leaseholders on the estate – they had been gathered to fight off the council making major unnecessary repairs to our building.
It warned them of the plan. There was two replies of communal anger. Then a email came back accusing me of a April Fools Day gag. Gag?
By then I had read the small print and understood what the Council was proposing. There were to be yellow lines drawn but only around one corner and not down an entire roads.
I hadn’t needed to get all upset. It was just a few feet of restrictions – only to make it easier for drivers to see around the corners.
But that is how they get you, to quote comic Barry Sobel.
The Council starts with a few feet and then it grows and grows. And who says that being able to see around the corner makes our streets safer? It just makes the drivers drive faster.
So I start worrying if I should make a big deal about one corner of yellow lines.
Oh, and I don’t even have a car. Or a renewed driving license.
So I end up the day as upset as when I started.
I wrote about this in March, 2012 but I had forgotten. “How taking parking off town centre roads is killing town life.”