This film is a compilation of short, sharp clips taking us on a poignant journey across London. Captured as the city was brought to an abrupt stand still and plunged into a desperate isolation overnight. Filmed over multiple journeys in London as part of Goldwater’s daily exercise regime (and using accepted social distancing), a unique perspective was caught that the viewer may never bare witness to again.
Growing up in a North London suburb, Goldwater is no stranger to the daily chaotic hustle and bustle of the usually animated capital. In a normally forbidden freedom, Goldwater is able to travel freely without the relentless, shuffling crowds, the constant stop start of surging traffic or the general buzz synonyms with Londons shared streets. Starting and finishing at The Strand, his journey take us through all the corners of London. From a deserted Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street and Soho to East London, an eerily empty Millennium Bridge and Burlington Arcade.
The film captures both touching and rousing moments, affiliated with battling the virus; social distancing queuing in Stoke Newington, placards of support plastered across the railings in Roman Road, an echoing ‘Clap for Carers’ moment and pleading ‘Stay at Home’ signs amongst the abandoned Leicester Square.
Despite being cast in optimistic spring sunlight the clips continue to convey the dangerous undercurrents of the virus amongst otherwise peaceful scenery, Each clip is separated with a black screen, a short moment of pause representing the lives lost to the virus. An ambulance roaring past Old Street roundabout and a collection of flowers thoughtfully laid outside a Muswell Hill chip shop, paying tribute to a life lost to the virus, gives a stark reminder of the devastation left in the wake of the virus.
Goldwater has seen his work take him to over 70 countries worldwide but never perhaps has he seen anything as eerie as a once bustling vibrant city abandoned into post-apocalyptic scenes overnight. In sharp contrast to Goldwater’s most recent book; ‘London Underground 1970 – 1980’ (published by Hoxton Mini Press) which is a complication of photographs taken on London’s vast bustling tube network, this film grants us a different side to London with an aching absence of people from his level perspective.
The result? See it to believe it yourself: https://www.mikegoldwater.com/film/london-april-2020/
Words / JOANNE M KENNEDY