Corruption, de-gentrification, terrorism, violence and big houses – just some of the ground breaking revelations of just what it’s like to be on the front line of the equality struggle on the streets of London. Film maker and playwright Penny Woodcock reveals all for Block 9’s immersive installation Dystopia….
Sleepwalking towards Islamification: Bernard, 24
I was sitting in a Costas just outside my apartment block, it used to be a pretty decent place to live, but things seemed to have just suddenly changed, it’s like you wake up one day in a completely different country – it’s scary. At like 8pm, I happened to see a whole bunch of brown people, all between the ages of 4 and 36, all looking miserable. Half of them were wearing Darth Vader costumes, you could only see the eyes – I suppose it was like parading their slogan. There were two leaders in front – fat bellied men – and it was the scariest thing I’d ever seen in my life.
It was like they were scouting the area, you know like the Death Star. It was absolutely frightening. They looked like they were all in ISIS or something. It’s amazing that the police don’t stop them; obviously they must be up to something. They were in a pretty decent area – or at least it used to be. It’s weird – a sign of things to come. It’s like them saying, ‘Hey we’re here to stay – and there’s nothing you can do about it – we’re gonna walk around your area dressed like this, it’s our culture and fuck you.’ The whole reason this area looks so terrible and is becoming so neglected is because of them – it’s like they prefer it that way. When white people lived around this London borough it was completely ok.
It’s multiculture and mass immigration – it’s what happens. It’s the belief that all cultures are relative, when clearly that’s not the case and integration is a myth. This area used to be great, now it looks like stink hole in Pakistan or somewhere. (Why am I using so many commas? it’s weird.) On the other side of the road to my house there’s this sign which says, “London: a place for everyone”. “A place for everyone?” That’s fucking ridiculous – the area is becoming increasingly populated by ethnic majorities and rich people. The reason I was so afraid when I saw the Brown people was because I knew the rents would lower, and my house would fall in price.
Class borders: Rupret, 23
My school was so mixed; it was a bit confusing for me. There was me, and then one other boy from the same background. People got what they wanted, I mean they had their culture pandered to all the time – they could get away with anything, as long as it was their culture. And then there was me. (Using short sentences and lots of commas.) Cherishing this one thing I had all day, English as a first language. It was weird. Sometimes I thought I was invisible, because I’m white and everyone’s an Ethnic majority – I got used to it though. I eventually went to university and suddenly everyone was like me. I can’t say I miss it. I hate the smell of Garam Masala.
A very different world: Kadir, 23
Rupret [above] was one of my friends. When I went to his house, I was just happy to be at a friend’s house. (He taught me to speak in halting sentences.) It wasn’t the kind of shock I’m sure he had when he first came to my house; well, I say house but it’s more like a room, well, I say room, more like a ‘ole in t’ground with a dirty destitute mattress as a roof for when it’s raining – which is all the time.
For me, I didn’t step into his house and think, “Wow, how grand and big,” or “Allah, what do they do with all these rooms?” Where I live is a gritty cesspit, more built up, harsher, I’m definitely going to tell my brothers – we’ll rob the place when the fuckers go on holiday to the Caribbean or something. Serves them right for being successful – innit.
All names have been changed for security reasons