Pullman Court, Streatham

Starting up my daily diary again. I plan to get back into some non-work writing projects, and I could do with the practice.

Today is a Sunday, the bleakest day of the week. I didn’t have anything in the way of plans, only half-formed ideas that relied on my telling other people about them for anything to happen. This, I did not do.

Instead, I had a fiddle with garage band, building on the Dartford jamming I did with the Robinson Brothers on Saturday night. I finally figured out that bass lines are easy – I’m forever having revelations 20 years after most people have ’em – so I did a super-quick version of Killing Moon, featuring ukulele, bass, and a robot drummer called Dave. 

I slept badly, and didn’t feel like eating, but eventually escaped the house’s gravity and went up to Pullman Court, on the suggestion of Sara. It is Open House weekend, with its tradition of organised and impressive people filling my assorted social media feeds with all the amazing places they’re visiting, while I sit in my dressing gown and watch the alcoholics come sit in the car park in front of the house to drink Polish lager.

Pullman House was celebrating its 80th birthday. Its architect, Frederick Gibberd, was only 23 when it was commissioned, and went on to be involved in lots of notable modernist projects, including Heathrow Terminal 1, Liverpool cathedral, and Harlow New Town, which my phone attempted to correct to Harlow New York.

Three flats were open to the public; I visited two. The first was a two bedroom one at the back of the project. A sign on the door asked visitors to remove their shoes. I did so, to find a hole in the big toe of my left sock. As I listened to the flat owner, a friendly American woman, give me a short history of the place, I tried to hide the hole with my other sock by placing my right foot diagonally across the left. This made for a flimsy base, and I wobbled slightly.

The owner was obsessed with vintage furniture, and much of the living room was filled with 1930s stuff. Atop the vintage drinks cabinet was a hardback F Scott Fitzgerald hardback, though he was more of a twenties dude.

“Gibberd’s first work and his best,” said a man who had just arrived, announcing his presence.  

“I would have to agree,” said the owner.

“Aren’t you a little biased, though, surely,” I said, in a failed attempt at humour.

The second flat I saw was a studio – a tiny studio. The people who owned it stood outside on the balcony as a nice bearded couple and I edged around the tiny space.

“I bet the kitchen makes you pretty creative with your shopping,” said one of the visiting couple.

“The kitchen is his domain,” came the reply.

“I’m only allowed in there to make the tea.”

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