On the days that my conscience decides that the traveling public in London cannot do without me, and stirs me deeply to attend to theirs wishes, I start my day at Canary Wharf, the home to all the major financial institutes of the world. Here is a soulless place devoid of singing birds of any description that I have seen or heard above the screeching traffic and shouted conversations down Blackberries. It was built some twenty odd years ago on the site of the old West India Docks and now stands perched on a crest, looking down on all its surrounds, resembling in my imagination an eagle or another bird of prey. It stands tall and shinily clad in polished aluminiun, marble and glass as if turning its nose up to the Council estates and housing that it looks down on that once were homes to some of the displaced Dockers. I hold no grudge against its being there, after all it provides me with the first job of the day, but I have a cynical mind honed over years of being told what was good for me. Everyday, as if lifted straight from some Orwellian nightmare, I see toddlers strung together by their carers taken from one corporation’s building to another, as an introduction to the world locked away from Canaries and such trifling things.Twenty years ago I returned to London and began to become accustomed to the intricacies of this place, now knowing what’s there, better than I know what’s in the shed at the end of my garden. I wonder how many of those children spend their lives here beyond the song of birds.
Daniel Kemp’s Books