Entropy junction is where Millfields Park and the marshworld meets.
On one side you have the casual park users, old ladies with yappy dogs, tracksuit types doing press-ups, junkies slumped on benches, kids playing football, women star-jumping with their personal trainers. Overlooking this hoopla, the residential flats with balconies like theatre boxes.
Coming from the other side is a stream of human traffic from the marshes. Cyclists, runners, dog-walkers, Hasidic jews, jabbering lunatics, meandering couples, skipping muslims, spliff-toting teenagers, gangs of pram-pushing mothers. The traffic hits a bottleneck where the marsh footbridge, towpath, park and flats meet.
The result: a fault-line between City and Uncity. A frisson of dark energy.
Here’s where I returned from the marshes one day and saw a gang of kids huddled. My gut sensed danger. The air curdled. With a whoop, one of the boys bolted across the grass on his bike shouting “Come on”. He made for the Lea Bridge Road in a blur of peddles.
The pack surged after him. I was right in their midst. They flowed round me, eyes wild. One said: “We’ll come at them from 3 ways”. Another reached into his coat pocket for something.
They approached the road, shouting, outstretched arms, the big come-on. On the other side two guys on bicycles, shouting back.
Two gunshots cracked. Screams. Women ducked their children behind trees.
I turned to watch the gang. They fizzed in Brownian motion by the railings. Waiting to make a decision. Was someone hit? Should they run? Which way should they run? I wondered if they would come towards me and whether I’d stand my ground or run too. But they bolted under the bridge and were gone.
Me? I carried on walking home.
Nobody died. Nobody got shot. It was just another leak of negative energy. It spills here like oil.
A Place to Feed The Fackin’ Birds
A week later in that same spot I came across Zee, a local dogwalker. A woman was screaming at her from a fourth floor balcony. Zee was talking back.
“Just don’t do it when I come past”, Zee said. She pointed at a pile of left-over food the woman had hurled over the balcony. Scraps of bread, fried onions, pasta.
“It’s for the fackin’ birds” the woman screamed.
“But the birds don’t eat it,” Zee said. “My dogs eat it. The rats eat it. It’s not nice.”
“You fackin’ bitch” replied the woman, “I’ll come daarn there and tear your fackin’ head off.”
“Come on then,” Zee said, brightly. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Zee must be 5ft 2. She turned to me. “Why would someone throw food off a balcony?”
The woman on the balcony was apoplectic, her yells a wall of human noise. “Fackin’ bitch, fackin’ bitch, get your fackin’ dogs., your facking… stupid cow… dogs off the grass anyway, the fackin’ birds, I’ll come down there, fackin’ kill yer, stupid fackin’…”
Zee shruggged and turned to me again. “Why’s she messing with me? I didn’t do ten years of martial arts for nothing. I know her, right. She smokes weed with all the boys on the block.”
“You’d think she’d be more relaxed then,” I said. The women was still screaming. At both of us now, it appeared.
“You don’t get me shouting,” Zee said. “I was being polite. She’s messing with the wrong person. People know me round here. I know all the people. I can just talk to someone. I know where she lives. She’s giving it all that. See? She aint coming down is she? This aint the first time I told her.”
Such skirmishes are common. Food dumping is a flashpoint. This is why the wild birds around these parts have lost interest in natural food sources – worms, algae, and so on. They now crave Bachelors pasta ’n’ sauce. See The Evolutionary Cul-De-Sac for more details.