Of the many things that are irking me today (the fact that my anemones are drowning in this rain, that Draw Something won’t acknowledge a winning streak past turn 99…), I find myself huffing and puffing and sighing with incredulity about this one the most: Jonathan Liew’s pompous and wholly distorted idea that Tooting…
“…on the ragged edge of south-west London, is the sort of town where the estate is your home rather than your car, and where gangs can all too easily become families.”
Pardon me, Jonathan, but have you ever been to Tooting? Apparently he has, as confirmed to an equally irritated Tooting Tweeter:
(Superb use of spelling and grammar there, from a man whose Twitter bio reads: “When every word reverberates to the end of the earth, a weak word can bring back an echo, to punish the man who spoke.”)
And too right, @Colporter. He should know better. Far from the ravaged wasteland of crime and poverty, which Liew depicts, Tooting is actually pretty decent. We have many charming bars, which as far as I know haven’t witnessed any gun crime of late. The shutters of New Look, Holland and Barratt and blinkin’ Stead & Simpson remain unblemished by the grim touch of graffiti. The traders in the thriving markets are always upbeat and friendly (well I’ve certainly never had a knife pulled on me) and the butchers on the high street continues to entice 20-somethings with their playlist of 90s pop-rock as they prepare beef and lamb and not, as far as I can tell, stringy pieces of dog that have wandered in, desperate to escape the foul stench of misery that allegedly envelopes the town.
Fair enough, Toots ain’t no Kensington or Chelsea, but it affords myself, my housemates and many other Tootingites we know a very nice and dare I say, middle-class, existence. We have an actual garden with flowers and bushes and a herb patch, and not just a concrete square littered with Special Brew cans, for crying out loud.
That Tooting has been criminally misrepresented is one thing, but that it’s been done so by a journalist is another. More so since Liew claims to have indeed previously visited the town. I can only assume he did so fleetingly, on a bus in an attempt to get home to Brixton, because the Victoria Line was down. Again. Unless, of course, his hyperbole is a tool to draw readers into his article, which I did not pursue with any vigour. That’s probably a bit unfair, as I’m sure it’s quite interesting and has much to offer. Just like Tooting.