From a distance, there would have been a shimmery wobble over London at times last week: a hazy heat hit the city and we were treated to our own oasis of warmth amidst a wintry late spring chill.
Needless to say, the damp bite’s back, making the heatwave seem nothing more than a mirage in the verdant distant past.
But – mmm – that sun. It beat down like a massage after a marathon ( I can only imagine), like a hot shower after camping in the rain, like warm rays after a year of cool days – precisely what it was. And when the sun shines in London, the whole city throws down a collective tribal dance and goes bananas.
Brixton swealtered. The whole samba-rhythmed Caribbean community poured into the streets – and out of an acreage of skimpy lycra – as Red Stripe cans rolled, tunes beat on and policemen slowly prowled up and down Coldharbour Lane. Fixies teetered along Brick Lane, glass and bad haircuts everywhere. Farringdon burst onto the pavements, cigarette breaks for once a damn delight. Harrow Road’s pavements smudged into stringy stickiness as globs of chewing gum melted and clung. Reggae, Irish jigs, fortifying Guinness and the obligatory police van all as omnipresent as ever, but with sun in their steps.
And from SE2 to N2 and beyond, rudeboys, ripped-off mountain bikes, labels, cheap jewellery and Jafaican accents took up sentry on every junction, street corner and Costcutter doorstep. Fried chicken shops went into overdrive and water guns sold out. With the odd bass-heavy BMW surrounded like bees to a honeypot, neighbourhood posses multiplied and dominated the streets last weekend. ‘Young professionals’, drinking lager on the grass in combat shorts and Havaianas, didn’t stand a chance.
More than any city demographic, subculture, vein or branch, rudeboys love the urban burn.