In a piece entitled So… fucking Croydon Les Back recalls a quotation from David Bowie, ‘I think it’s the most derogatory thing I can say about somebody or something: ‘God, it’s so fucking Croydon!’”.
Croydon facelift, the racist Croydon tram woman, ‘so fucking Croydon’, these representations of place mount up. Croydonisation has even been used as a verb. Les argues that Croydon has been repeatedly used to represent ‘a place of living torment, a culture vacuum, the negation of style, an example of ‘Where it’s not!’.’ More recently, Yasmin Gunaratnam tweeted about the ‘casual vilification’ of Croydon.
What do these representations erase or exclude? One of the papers at our conference is based on a blog project by Ashwani Sharma called ‘Must we Burn Croydon?‘ The blog’s description promises another perspective. One that explores ‘the art of (sub)urban existence after the modernist ruins: an experiment in re-imagining urban everyday (multi)culture through the archival poetics of South London’s outercity as spectre of the future-yet-to-come’. I’d highly recommend a visit to Must we Burn Croydon‘s Tumblr page where Ornette Coleman, Will Self and the swimming pools of the future jostle for position. Ash will be drawing upon this project to argue that ‘an ‘outer-city’ suburban space such as Croydon is where the contradictions of neoliberalism, racism and everyday urban life are now most intensely experienced’.
Ashwani Sharma presents ‘It all comes together in Croydon – re-imagining the future pasts of (sub)urban multiculture’ in Panel 5 – Aesthetic/methodological responses to multiculture – PSH LG02 12-1.15pm.