One day I did the whole of Green Lanes on foot. It is a very long straight road that cuts through North London like a scalpel.
It was December 2017, I think, and I had some time off from the markets around Christmas.
Days off often send me to total paranoia. I don't know if it’s due to that classic middle age vice of knowing how to concentrate only on work, but the fact is that the mind starts to work badly and to dwell on irrelevant questions, forgetting the grander things like lying down in a park, or sitting at a restaurant and finally eating.
I left home convinced that some air could do me good. I started to walk. I passed traffic lights, and traffic islands of cement. I was going straight, aiming only for the end of the road. I didn't pay attention to the housewives with their baskets at the windows of middle-eastern bakeries, placed there by the owners to attract customers; I didn’t look at the Indian mobile phone shops; nor the stores selling fruit and vegetables, or suitcases. I didn't mind the buses.I did not stop to watch those conjurers with the three cards waving £20 notes at passers by. I didn't look into the banks. I didn't pay attention to anybody.
The sun that every now and then peeped out at the end of the road far away: that, yes, I looked at it. That light that I was hoping to reach at the end of Green Lanes.
But Green Lanes does not end.
Christ, how long is that road.
There is also a record called "Green Lanes" by a London band called Ultimate Painting, which made three very beautiful records between 2014 and 2016, and broke up in 2018, just before the release of their fourth album, which was already recorded, and was going to be entitled “Up!”.
Somewhere I must have read that Ultimate Painting were from Hackney, a neighbourhood close to Green Lanes. Here, I told myself, today I feel like that record. A lot of work for nothing. Strangled.
No one will ever know about it.