Buk put together a long awaited explorer gathering and dubbed it Londonsplore. With the derelict location and expectation of an all-nighter , the event echoed other enticing social urban experiences from the previous 12 months or so. Somewhere along the line somebody had said that having more parties would be a good thing and everybody seemed to gain an experience from this one. I don’t know what kept us waiting so long really – complacency maybe?
In recent months, London seems to have seen an influx of explorers both starting out fresh and those more established becoming noticeably more prolific, identified through activities shared online on various blogs, forums and Facebook. As seen with the activities and outcomes from the LCC, it’s become obvious that collaboration and information sharing has moved things forwards to the extent that strength in numbers can only benefit those participating. Gathering with perhaps 20 others the opportunity was taken to acquaint myself with new faces in a way that hadn’t presented itself for a while.
Of course, open communication has it’s risks. The rapid share of information on well populated ‘private’ sections of large forums led to groups within groups and the eventual implosion with 28days closing and the UK UE popular dispersing to Derp, Dark Places, UEF, Deserted Places and various other forums created off the back of this closure. Essentially, 28 days turned into the Tower of Babel and upon reopening several months later after much pestering of OT, it never really got up to the glory days of 2007-08 when everyone seemed to get on – there appeared to be no need to use different forums then, but perhaps it was my lack of involvement in these as a relative noob that made me think that?
The whole evening was fucking freezing. A fire that lasted a good 8 hours went some way to keeping the party warm, the embers keeping the survivors going until the drink ran out around 3am, at which point a hardcore of 6 sat listening to the soundtrack of A Clockwork Orange and philosophising in the way that only 6 tins of Red Stripe can make oneself do.
Set in Kops brewery, the derpiest ruin in the whole of London, the occasion had something of a post-apocalyptic vibe to it. My first visit to this spot had been back in 2007 at a time when every place I visited was still very new and unknown, and I’ve sporadically come back to this location for it’s trashed charm. It’s a classic derelict place, reappropriated, graffitied, burnt out in places, missing all it’s windows, home to pigeons, guarded by a palisade. It’s an anomaly really for London, loads of other places like this have been knocked down since the river lost it’s role as a main trading artery.
This event is hopefully going to be a catalyst for the evolution of a more open London community, something that has always been so vehemently encouraged by Siologen. Tending London towards a more European vibe will hopefully bring more outcomes for those willing to contribute and participate, and the lack of a central hub of communication such as a publicly accessible forum may allow the associated and classified heirarchies to be avoided. I doubt the London scene will ever lose the competitiveness that spurred the convergence of Teams A and B towards the formation of the LCC, but an emerging horizontal hierarchy will go some way to removing the elitism that I suspect that those more deep rooted in this community will all have participated in – something that I suspect and can see has brought resentment and hard feelings.
Rising from the ashes of a summer of instability appears to be more of a willingness to just get out there and see what happens. Consequences have been established for certain trespass offences but an air of ‘awaiting the hangman’ is loitering for offences relating to the Mail Rail. In a socially uneasy period where Occupy London and various other political statements and protests are occurring and being awaited for by the police, there seems to be a fear developing that legislation could be passed making squatting a criminal offence. A tightening up of controls against trespass could set up to make this pastime something probably even less acceptable to the masses, regardless of what the largely misquoted and maligned code of ‘urbex’ ethics says.