Images from the recital and burning of The Book of Debts IX, Brixton on Sunday 29th March at St Mathews Peace Garden, Brixton Hill, amid stormy weather ! It was a very powerful ending to an intense residency for the book – thankyou to all those who contributed, recited, and supported us in Brixton. More to come on what happened soon. Read below Barby Asante’s moving debt of gratitude to the people of Brixton which she recited at the event.
‘Brixton is now a desired place to live. In fact people are so desperate to buy into Brixton that you will sometimes get notes through your letterbox from people looking for properties and it seems that the powers that be/ the local authority are happy to sell it off to fill the pot with the pennies that will be given in return for allowing property developers and big business to own pieces of Brixton – displacing the people who stayed here when it was consider an off limits dangerous part of London.
So this debt is owed to the music hall players and entertainers, the market traders, the Caribbean and Irish people who were not welcomed to live in other parts of London & those Caribbean people who bought the run down properties through pardoner systems of saving and worked hard to make those properties homes, the working class men and women who grew up playing on the bomb sites that are now the sites of contested social housing. To the squatters and housing activists especially Olive Morris. To the Brixton Faeries, to those who took to the streets because they were fed up of racism and police brutality. To the kids condemned as rubbish because they grew up in Brixton & the single mums who brought some of those kids up.
The artists, musicians, writers, nightclub owners, London transport workers, teachers, shop keepers, social workers, keepers of local history, street preachers and every day Brixton Characters, the different groups of people from around the world attracted to the place because it’s welcoming to others/ to outsiders and you can shop for food in a market instead of a bland supermarket.
There’s so much more to say so many people that could be listed or credited that make up a really brilliant and truly diverse community, that has its conflicts and comings together. That recognises and appreciates difference. These are people who stuck with it and stood by their neighbourhood and it’s people when others condemned and spoke negatively about Brixton. They were/ are resilient and fiercely defend the social and cultural fabric of their community. Many of these people have had to – or if things continue in the direction that it’s going- will have to move on. Pushed out and priced out as profit is put before people!’