A young fan by the name of Eddie writes in to ask a difficult question…
Wolfgang: what is your opinion of the excessively decadent and bourgeois South West of London? Do you include it in the Empire of South London, or do you disown it and its shameful ways?
It’s difficult because it demands an uncomfortable probability: a wound within South London. A non-whole. A division. An implausibility. Not so much an overlapping intoxicating duality as a distinct dichotomy between two separates. There is a difference between much of the South West and The Rest. Be it the sweep of gentrification or the longstanding suburban Surreyness of places like Wimbledon, there is something… nice, poncey, comfortably unrevolutionary about parts of the South West.
South London is as much an idea in abstract space as it is an entity on physical geography. Even it’s most defined physical border – the gloriously gloopy Thames – is (in an age of bridges and tubes) a predominantly symbolic border. But I would imagine all interpretations of South London include at least some SW bourgeois hubs. This is problematic.
Hope lies in the proles. Can it lie in the bourges as well?
Eddie refers to a decadence of South West London. Or, as I like to call it, west South London. I see what he means. But my response may suprise him. I demand not a puritan reduction in decadence, but a reckless indulgeflation in it. The decadence of places like Wimbledon and Clapham is a very (culturally) poor, stoic, boring decadence. We need a more rugged decadence. I’m thinking 1920s Berlin. I’m thinking opium dens. I’m thinking posh teenage girls on the game for the sheer experience of it. I’m thinking elite-yet-revolutionary culture that would make Adorno smile. NOT bloody Christmas decorations from Habitat. Spread the rebellion southwestwards. I want Walton-on-Thames to be Walton-on-Smack. Thames Ditton to be Thames Shit-on an escort girl’s breasts.
Not-decadent-enough west South London is perhaps our biggest revolutionary challenge. But, also, maybe, our biggest opportunity.
Hope does indeed lie in the bourges. As long as they’re fucked up enough.