LU4 – is …

… where I live. Luton – Bedfordshire – UK – LU4. From the outside it’s a bit of a shithole but it’s where I live and it’s where I grew up. LU4 is where we moved to when I was 8 – when Dad was looking for work. I captained the school cricket team for 5 years in LU4 – I played rugby for the school on Saturday mornings – cold wet winter Saturday mornings – a Saturday morning when only 10 of us turned up to play – the opposition were arriving soon and we only had 10 – we needed another 5. So we bomb blasted around the estate to try and find some more players – there was no such thing as a mobile phone in 1983 and not everyone had a home phone – so off we went – 20 minutes later we were all back – with 2 extra players. “Sorry lads” the teacher said “we can’t play with 12, we’ll have to cancel” – not sure what we said but we made it quite clear we weren’t about to give up that easily. The opposition arrived and we played – the 12 of us never played tougher or harder than on that cold wet Saturday morning – and we won – 12 against 15 – every tackle went in hard – every pass was made – and everyone of us was absolutely knackered at the end of it.

That – is grit – and determination. We didn’t have much – but what we did have – we made the most of it.

LU4 is a bit like that – it’s a shithole – if you look from the outside. If you come here – from the outside – you might feel intimidated. Since January this year there have been a number of shootings and stabbings – resulting in a number of deaths. I’ve been to areas of London – with a laptop in a bag over my shoulder or a camera hanging around my neck – and just thought to myself I shouldn’t be here but when I’m on Lewsey Farm (LU4) I don’t feel worried at all. Maybe I know the escape routes maybe I feel as if I could stand and argue with the knowledge I was here while you were a sperm – whatever it is I don’t feel intimidated by the youths around here.

FUCK THE PIGS

I’ve been spending time with my camera lately and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it. I’ve found the love for photography I had many years ago and thought I would put the refound love of photography together with a desire to document where I grew up, where I left for the Royal Navy and returned to, where I had my first girlfriend, where I bought my first house, had my first (and second) child, where my children have gone to school and where we still live today.

Dominic Square

Friday night walk to Dominic Square – weekly shop with Mum – and fish and chips for Friday night dinner !

Used to be the Co-op

This is where we used to do the weekly shop – before the days of superstores !

Hampton Road

Just around the corner from Luton Town Football Club – where we walked the 5 miles home after watching Luton play Man Utd in 1985 when they were in Division 1 – got a right rollocking for not telling my parents we were walking home – we were in heaven – we’d just lost to MAN UTD – MANCHESTER UNITED – had been in Luton – they were GODS !

Woodside Industrial Estate …

… is across the road from where I grew up – and of course – was our playground. I still pick up kit to install from this industrial estate today – big project starting at the end of June.

This post is meant as a bit of background to LU4 – where I grew up – where if you didn’t know better you might think it’s a bit of a shithole – but where I kind of love. The idea is to try and update the blog (I haven’t written any poetry for ages and don’t feel inclined to) with snippets of photographs and/or words to document the life of LU4. It will probably stretch to LU3, LU6 and maybe further afield but the plan is to show my manor.

Bailey’s intention was to find subjects in his immediate neighbourhood which offered the minimum amount of obvious visual stimulus … from NW1 (1982) by David Bailey

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Tommy’s love: a father’s love

Port Isaac - Cornwall

Walking, peering over the cliff edge,
walking the high coastal path:
a warm summer breeze
rushes in off the sea.

Tiniest of brackish droplets
leave the skin – salt flecked:
I raise a hand to shield my eyes
from the charging Atlantic spray.

An old narrow road drops down
into this small fishing hamlet:
where boats, nets and crates
litter harbour walls and sun shaded alleys.

Todays’ catch fills the air
with the freshest perfume:
salivating with just the thought
of what lunch will bring – today.

The fresh faced Ailla, awaiting exam results,
delivers dawn’s mackerel catch:
watching eyes of Tommy, from under the brim
of his favourite Fiddler cap.

Tommy’s long, now greying, beard has shielded
flesh from many a rough day at sea;
with love he watches Ailla and knows
she’ll escape this tiny hamlet soon.

Wind battered boats, the thrill of the sea
crashing house high into the harbour walls,
nor the narrowest of cobbled streets,
will hold his beloved from venturing far.

Knocking, and knocking

My world stood still
for but a few minutes

My world stood still
for what felt like hours

Before it began, was over
and onto the next

Take stock, look closer within
where knocks have knocked

And have the knocks knocked
but I’ve come back – strong

My world stood still
but already

it’s moving again