March 26, 2008
HEATHROW:THE PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY OF PARANOIA.
“In every case, the state of exception marks a threshold at which logic and praxis blur with each other and a pure violence without logos claims to realize an enunciation without any real reference" Giorgio Agamben.
"Of many shifts , blandly cunning, a robber, a cattle driver, a bringer of dreams, a watcher by night, a thief at the gates, one who was soon to show forth wonderful deeds among the deathless gods." Chalked on the roadside were words lifted from a Homeric hymn to Hermes.
Heathrow is a tangle of paranoia, to traverse the perimeter is to dodge clusters of armed coppers. We edge beneath the razor wire of a forlorn camp , a guarded non space mutating into a contemporary locus of struggle. Middle England just this side of the fence, clinging to heritage and hanging baskets,, no site clothes/work boots, no third runway daubed on George cross banners, who do yOU align yourself with? Immigration removal centres, privatised prisons, they're not keen, they don't want them coming in, and they don’t like unhealthy proles holidaying in Spain much either.
Terrorism, a word almost drained of its psychotic cravings by the anodyne platitudes mouthed on ABC lurks in the infrastructure. Does anyone really believe in it? Conspiracy theories abound, there’s a retreat into the escapism of fantasy lands, the irrational.
The three magpies, relic of the 70’s, nothing really changed, a saccharine rendition of’silent night’ on the juke box, it’s August. We’re ignored for a long time and when I get my tea it’s lukewarm and the little cup only half full, its like tea you get from a flask. Its Monday afternoon so there’s just us and a couple of baggage handlers. We leave the faux heritage of this Edwardian tudor and head for the patio bar which is actually some tables and a fence and a car park then the airport. It’s an out of time zone, where people come to have clandestine encounters, a few drinks before a dash to the Renaissance hotel. Its a place of undertable powder slipping and hawkers peddling stuff off the luggage truck. You get it now, or its on its way to the auction house in Tooting love. Julie’s had everything in here, mainly perfume and stuff, specially since the ban on hand luggage and liquids, some nice stuff, expensive, all sorts really. Julie grew up in Bradford, she used to be married to a biker, she had tattoos and loved the allegiance of belonging to a tribe. Then there was feuding and he got nasty and she swapped her council house in Bradford for a flat in Hounslow, it was a clean break,a fresh start..,here in this transit zone everyone was just passing through, she could just disappear. It was her and the Polish and the Somalians and Sikhs and everyone, loads of Polish everywhere, all the pubs and shops turning Polish now. Used to be that a lot of the pubs closed and turned into boring stuff like burglar alarm fitting businesses cos the Asians didn’t really use them so much but now the Poles are bringing them back to life.
The three magpies is alright, she’s been working there three years. Strangely, for a transit zone you get your regulars, blokes from the airport. Then there’s lads from nearby up on a weekend, mainly for the karaoke and late licence, airport meant it was easy to get one, funny hours people work and us with no neighbours to annoy. Outside this strictly controlled zone we had this little pocket that was almost operating outside the law. We had all sorts going on, a lot of young ones off their heads but the old bill never looking in.