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Top five park users in London

Chris Waywell

1. The barbecuer

If you can cremate it on a shallow foil tray full of charcoal, Dave will take it to the park and give it a go. He used to make his own marinades, but they were all shit and tasted like sweet Marmite, so he gave up. To be honest, he’s gone off the culinary side of it a bit. It’s really just about drinking beer now. Mind you, when Dave was a student at Newcastle, six Foster’s cost £4. When he bought six Zubr just now, it cost 15 fucking quid!

2. The Instagrammer

Whenever she can, Sam gets ‘her girls’ together and forces them to come to the park with some carefully chosen accessories: prosecs, rug, tiny speakers, giant sunglasses. This window dressing is for Instagram. Sam takes loads of selfies. She’s always in front and ‘her girls’ are sort of behind her. There’s a lot of sideways V-signs. Sam wonders, though, if you can really put #squadgoals on a photo whose background is a gasometer and a dog having a crap.

3. The old lady

The old lady still comes to the park, like she has done all her life, but it’s changed a lot. Now it’s full of swearing drunk lads, shrieking drunk girls and dogs crapping everywhere. This is a big improvement. When the old lady was a young lady the park was full of swearing drunk lads, shrieking drunk girls and dogs crapping everywhere, only they all stank of Brylcreem and did lots of amphetamine as well.

4. The dog

The dog likes the park very much. He likes barbecue bloke and his daft friends up that end. He likes Instagram girl and her daft friends down that end. He likes the old lady and her no friends in the middle. He especially likes being able to wander about the place and take a leisurely crap on the green acreage and feel that this is an environment which has achieved a certain social equilibrium so often lacking in London these days.

5. The family guy

Gareth arrives in the park with his two sons and immediately ruins it for everyone. He threatens Dave with Hackney’s public drinking laws, phones the council to try and have the dog captured and destroyed after it craps on his wicket and spoils all Sam’s directional selfies with his massive yelling red face. Eventually the old lady tells him to piss off, at which point he lectures her that gentrification cuts both ways, love, and that it’s his tax money keeping London safe for the likes of her. When Gareth moved to the area, his estate agent described the park as ‘a great local amenity’. Now Gareth hopes they build a Waitrose on it.

By Chris Waywell, who loves a Zubr, a selfie and the occasional crap in a ‘great local amenity’.

Illustrations: Nathan James Page

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