On a bench at Shepherd’s Bush Green 25.08.16

From time to time a fairground arrives on the green, which makes sense because there is something of the ‘carnival’ about this place. On the road encircling the green, cars constantly hurl themselves around like so many fairground rides. While it usually lacks the hyper-friendly oversized cartoon characters of a fairground, it has its own ‘characters’ – post-punk Mohicans keeping the dream alive, loud and sociable people who live out of shopping trollies, and the odd transvestite or two.
However it is a fairground that attracts all sorts. The chaos of the swirling traffic underscores the diversity of the people who walk on or round the green, also pulling within its orbit misplaced tourists, kebab shop owners and young detached Kensington types who push on through it with urban swagger and headphones.
Battling against the human chaos is the green itself, fighting to create a sense of peace and nature in spite of the perpetual roar and swirl of the traffic. The green has an architect’s precision to it though. There is the sense that every curving path and each rise and fall in the landscape were the logical conclusions to careful psychosocial analysis rooted in poetic theories about contemporary urban living. It is easy to imagine committees meeting to discuss details such as the elevation of the eastern rise in the park, its health and safety implications and its interference with local events, such as the intermittent fairground.
The effort to create a space for leisure and peaceful contemplation in an area surrounded by as many lanes and as much traffic as the M25 demonstrates the pragmatism to life in this area, an acceptance of the busy-ness of life here and a commitment to make life around the green pleasant in spite of all the nitrates and escalating Co2 emissions. From this perspective, the green can be seen as a microcosm of the city itself and could even be representative of the ways humans get on with life on this often difficult and capricious planet.


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