Forget banking! Scaffolding is the in business. In Kensington Court alone there are four sets and another, I suspect, about to go up. Most of them will be temporary. But, that flapping monster around 27/28 Kensington Court will be with us for a while yet. It deserves squatter status, having established itself over the last three years as part of the scenery: unmoveable, unchallengeable, unlicensed, unauthorised and defiantly unlovely. I’m surprised that someone hasn’t found some amiable mutt of a dog, tied it to one of the uprights with the inevitable hank of string, stuck an open guitar case in front of it and solicited funds to repair its tattered green mesh veils and torn cladding. The good news is that a person with a real name has emerged with a plan and what passes for an explanation. The scaffold is holding up the roof, excessively destroyed by previous investigations. So that’s it. It’s protecting the environment and is fulfilling its ‘Elf and Safety obligations to the letter! Without this, a plague of bricks and mortar will rain down upon the heads of Kensington Court residents, endangering life and limb, never mind parked cars, Ocado delivery vans, and the municipal refuse lorry. I await the end of April with an anticipation I can barely contain and the thought of its being gone by Christmas fills me with joy unparalleled…Hark the Herald Angels and all that. The bad news could be a rumour I heard at the hairdresser’s (where else does get the lowdown after all) that Marks and Spencer might close. Gap has shunted further up the street, next to its sister company Banana Republic. Hobbs is returning, thought they are coy about the date. But Maison de Chocolat has closed. The old Gap store is still unlet. Tesco’s has disappeared and much of Kensington Church Street remains empty. Is the Westfield Centre so successful, that a shopping stampede to it is underway? Or is it that the rents and business rates for the High Street as so high, even the market leaders can’t afford them. Could it really be that M&S can’t compete against Whole Foods, or is the old Derry and Toms building about to become a block of luxury flats, sold only on the international market and destined to stand as empty as the de Vere Gardens project. Anyone in the know about this? I promise that I NEVER divulge my sources…..
Joannah Yacoub, originally from the far north but resident in London since 1973 and Kensington Court since 1993, has views on what has to be her home city, no matter where she originally came from. She has already published a short story collection called When Mr Putin Stole my Painting (Quartet 2015) and if you haven’t already bought it, Amazon One Click is the best deal. She is working on a follow-up work, a novel set elsewhere but, in the meantime, is going to spout her ideas on this locality on a regular basis. Be Prepared….