Here’s to Jenny Newham’s Southern Fried London, a collection of our finest grease merchants and heart attack hucksters. Thanks also to the weird and wonderful world of the South London Press, one of two locals in my neck of the woods, for bringing the blog to my attention.
I embarked on my own obsessive photo-documentary project with a friend in an otherwise ordinary market town many years ago, snapping photos of ugly gardens in Bedford. For a year or so I couldn’t walk along a street without noting ugly gardens and trying to remember their location. Perhaps a precursor to my mapping hobby?
The project was intended as a loving tribute to the dull places in which most of us live, and a comment on the influence of the endless gardening TV programmes at the time rather than a criticism of the owners. I doff my hat to anyone who makes an effort to do more with their garden than store old washing machines and weeds.
Like Jenny we ended up arousing the interest of the local media, which in turn led to a full page spread in the Daily Mail. We turned down subsequent invitations to debate garden design with TV personality gardeners on BBC Breakfast and Richard and Judy because they obviously missed the point and wanted us to attack the celebs or the garden owners.
It’s nice that Jenny clearly likes the chicken shop fronts, and isn’t just sneering.
My personal favourites aren’t all chicken takeaways, but you can find them on Denmark Hill. It starts with a Pizza Hut, which has been bested by a Tasty Hut just two doors over, followed a little further south by a Tasty House. Who will raise them a Tasty Mansion?