The Power of the Power Station

The Power Station

Station with a view

2:30 pm. Off the bus with other 326 people. The elusive bus 344, direction Clapham Junction Station, would have broken the world record for “most people squeezed on a local bus heading for a derelict power station. On a Sunday.” If only Boris knew.

Potential visitors pour out from South, East, West and some unknown direction from behind a red soft ice cream van conveniently positioned on one side, facing North and the people coming out of the power station. They’re rushing towards the largest brick building in Europe. Iincluding the lady in the red hat, late 60s (early 70s?), who wanted to see Battersea Power Station all her life and kept asking at every stop “Is this the stop for the Battersea Power Station… is this the stop… is this….”. No. No. No. Sorry, yes.

Now, she could have simply stared out the window, not into the eyes of her bus-companions, and notice that any stop could be the stop for the station, because once you pass the steel and glass lego blocks of Vauxhall you can see it from pretty much every inch of the road. Even from the inside of an overcrowded bus.

2:45 pm. Our dreams are shattered. “The queue is too long… There’s no more time… Queue, but there’s no guarantee”. Where did I hear this before? No, honestly, where did I hear this before?
However, our taste-buds are very much alive. Luckily, the only thing  still opened in the vicinity is the above mentioned ice cream van, spewing out fumes while mixing condensed milk with artificial soft aromas. The few visibly disappointed buy ice cream to divert their toddlers’ attention. It’s cheaper than Disneyland. Stop complaining.

The crowd moves in mysterious ways, but mainly towards West. Some stop to take a last peek through the cracks in the 8 feet tall hoardings. Banners advertising the new development are equally met with interest and flashy cameras. On the road to nowhere we lose some power station aficionados to the charms of the Cats and Dogs Home. Others keep moving towards the river to see with their own eyes the place where the crowds converge just to disappear inside the station.

We walk by new developments, soon to be the old developments, because Battersea Power Station will be the new development. We walk under bridges, past garbage bins and disgruntled visitors mumbling their discontent and going to see the left over open houses in the area.
“Where’s the Diamond House?
Battersea Square?
Let’s go to Chelsea.”
No overcrowded power stations there, just posh people and vintage mews. There must be some open houses. I need an open house. Now!

“All London has come to see Battersea!” yells a man in fluorescent jacket. On the inside that is. Although it has been here all its life, with every new year slightly wrinkled. But they want to tell grandchildren how they walked through that Pink Floyd cover once upon a time, when houses were opened and power stations still held a magic power over the city’s south banks.
That’s pretty powerful for a power station. Even a derelict one, about to be turned into overpriced rooms with a view.
 Oh, look, the ice cream van is following us.

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Filed under Bits and pieces, The South bank files

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