Whilst ‘the loneliest village in London’ is a title that could quite easily be used to describe a handful of places within the capital, it could be no more accurately applied to the likes of Neasden. For a place with no high-street, little-to-no amenities and an endless collection of both shuttered shops and abandoned businesses, Neasden, sandwiched between an array of either hyper-modernised, newly regenerated, or equally forsaken North Western suburbs, is for the most part a place somewhere between utterly forgotten and politely unchartered— a blip on a map, used no more than as a pointer of having strayed too far from one’s intended course.
Having grown up in Neasden, and finding myself back there years later by way of circumstance, I like to think of my time here as an exile— being stuck in a place far removed the rest of the city, with its machines of gentrification, disposable income-friendly high streets, and blinding visions of the future, both metaphorically, and in many ways, literally. Despite being on the Jubilee Line (and Metropolitan Line to the north at Wembley Park) it seems as though escaping the place has somehow been made especially hard by deities with questionable senses of humour. No worthy journey is less than an hour away it seems, with a small fortune to be paid for the privilege of escape, no matter how temporary.
If nothing else however, Neasden is a place of consistencies— litter and fly-tipping is forever rife, cheap (in both senses of the word) fast food remains unavoidably omnipresent, and yet surprisingly, snippets of real and genuine nature in the form of wild plants, bats, birds and even muntjac, make themselves present. Within this series, I attempted to sum up Neasden in three images, channelling both the frustrations and familiarities of a place that I have called home for the majority of my life, attempting to beautify the mundane, and to take note of the glimmers of value, which indeed can be found within the place historically referred to as the ‘nose-shaped hill’.