wayward perambulations around london
I once did a nine month sentence in Pentonville Nick. 'Cos I had an oil burning codeine habit they put me in the hospital. One evening during association the screws opened the door behind the gate at the south end of the corridor and I was greeted with a view down into the west end which took my old holborn seared breath away! There below, spread out as if on a users table were the streets and chemists shops I so loved. It struck me then that we really were high up, there on the 'ville. It broke me heart seeing my old ranging grounds so clear yet so far. Needless to say I didn't wait too long before getting back down there the day they booted me out. The ville was rough - even the pigeons were stinking old lags. Saw Christie's (or was it Crippin's?)grave out in a pleasant garden set between the wings and replete with cherry and apple blossom. Last time in I ended up in Belmarsh. That place is even worse. I had a cell with two cctv cameras in it!!!! I felt quite flattered to tell the truth, but modern prisons have no soul. I recall talking to Denis Nilsen in the scrubs back in November 1983 (the day after he was sentenced). Des expressed outrage at the cctv placed on the venerable walls of the nick. He promptly wrote to the heritage people complaining about this clear ruination of a fine Victorian ediface and I must say I agreed. Can you do anything to protect our prisons Mr Rogers? I understand you are a man of influence. Rumour has it you know Will Self. He's got that Razor Smith Guy up at Grendon Underwood. He clearly cares. Can you have a word with him?
ironic how Pentonville Prison is built on the site of an early 19th century utopian community. Must admit I can't imagine you banged up in there, more than an hour down that part of the Cally gets to me, let alone 9 months. there's a great 17thCentury panorama in the museum of london that shows the hills surrounding the city, the penton sticks right up with even higher ground behind. If you're looking for someone with the ear of Mr Self then Old Lag you'd be better off tracking down infamous Deep Topographer Nicholas Papadimitrou - I can testify personally that they are on very good terms.
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