Pronounced like the village not the Greenwitch (shoutout to Susan Cooper!)…

Right across the Thames from where I live is Greenwich, famous for its mean time. Connecting it to the Isle of Dogs is what’s called the Greenwich Foot Tunnel (see picture), a tunnel under the river where pedestrians can cross. It was originally opened as a replacement for expensive ferry service allowing workers living south of the Thames to commute to the docks to work, but now it seems to be mostly full of children and teenagers who find the echo OH SO FUN and enjoy hearing themselves scream. Or maybe it just seems that way to me.

On the other side of the river I walked around the town. Greenwich is part of London, but in effect London, outside the City of, is made up of towns and villages and Greenwich is one of these. I never made it up to the Observatory, that’s for another day, but I did wander around Greenwich Market. It was crowded and touristy and full of much crap, but still fun. There was a booth with guys giving accupressure chair massages; seeing that was seeing a long lost friend. The man giving the massage asked, “Do you want soft, medium or firm?”

“Firm,” I said. Firmly.

He looked at me amused and said, “Let me know if it’s too much for you…”

Let me tell you, it was not. I wanted to explain to him that I was used to Korean women kneeling on my back and walking around with bruises for days but I was too relaxed to say a word. I will go back to the Greenwich Market again if only for more chair massages.

There was also a little indie music/dvd shop there with signs begging for customers, warning that if you didn’t shop there it would inevitably close down. I felt like I had a civic duty to support my adopted country and not long after that I emerged with a new CD (Scarlet’s Walk–Tori Amos) and a DVD (Antonioni’s Blowup, the prototypical depiction of swinging mod London).

Eventually I found myself at St Alfege’s church, one of the six churches built in London by Nicholas Hawksmoor after the great fire in 1666. I LOVE the Hawksmoor churches. Depending on whom you ask, they lay on ley lines running through London and were built with pagan symbolism in the architecture. Indeed, many horrible events have taken place in the shadow of the churches. The bloodiest of the Jack the Ripper murders happened across the street from Christ Church Spitalfields. The Ratcliffe Highway murders occurred on the very spot Hawksmoor had wanted to build St George-in-the-East; the victims were buried in the cemetery where the church was actually erected and the murderer was buried on the crossroads next to it after committing suicide (his skeleton dug up years later with a stake through the heart).

According to my new hero Iain Sinclair, London author and psychogeographer, the churches lie at the angles of a sign of Set and are cult centres, temples for malignancies which have yet to be laid to rest. Of course I need to see them all. Saturday I plan to walk to all six churches; a rather long walk but I’m very excited. I’ll report back if anything unusual happens….


~ by kellly333 on February 15, 2007.

4 Responses to “Greenwich”

  1. Two things:
    1. When you figure out London/UK geography, you can explain it to me. I’ve neverbeen able to figure out that whole city/town/shire thing.
    2. I direct you here to remind you that your last accupressure nearly ended in you fainting and/or vomitting.

  2. Cool picture! I’m looking forward to learning more about Iain Sinclair and psychogeographers. Glad you are jumping back into posting — it is always a treat when you do.

    Have you seen CHILDREN OF MEN yet?

  3. […] had been to the church the last time I was in Greenwich . Like many of the Hawksmoor churches the first thing you see is the towering steeple above the […]

  4. i love greenwich, i was born and raised in Bermondsey so was taken here as a kid. I now take my kids there. Lots of nice memories. In fact we’re going tomorrow

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