Last time I spent much time around Wapping it involved going there on Friday nights for the pickets of Murdoch’s News International plant. I got familiar with the back streets having regularly dodged tooled-up coppers hell bent on denying my legitimate right to protest. But enough of that. In happier circumstances this weekend I was back to Tobacco Dock for the London International Tattoo Convention.
The venue is in so many ways a bizarre monument to the Tory years. It is just behind the News International plant - itself ironically redundant now production has moved outside London. In the 80’s the long-derelict docks were property developed into a labyrinth of luxury apartments, a shopping centre and waterside leisure area. Except it never took off - wrong place (piss-poor public transport) and wrong time (the last recession). Today it stands finished but unoccupied since the 90's - trapped in time as a spooky memorial to the era of red braces, Filofaxes and brick-like mobile phones.
I sat outside for a while in the sunshine on the quayside watching the world go by: Viking-ish bikers - 50’s burlesque girls – old skool greaser petrol heads - punks with full Japanese body suits - Polynesian warriors – BDSM types … and just about everything else in-between.
Here was poetic justice: it looked like the freaks had finally triumphed over the yuppies. At least for a weekend.