Spinning Stories


Launderette encounters by cqualmann
September 12, 2009, 12:55 pm
Filed under: Contemporary Launderettes, Contributions, Laundry Stories, Storytelling, Transcripts

Well actually the first time in living memory or my living memory that I went to a laundrette was in Wood Green.  And I had just moved to London.  I had to walk a long, long way and this is winter so of course it was dark and I was quite afraid to be in London.  And I went into this laundrette on the estate.  It seemed to the only form of illumination.  Everything else was sulphury, orange street light and then this beacon of the laundrette.  And I went in and it was incredibly busy but it’s very, very aggressive.  And I was quite afraid of just even technologically figuring it all out, where to put the money, how the driers work.  And it really felt like walking into a real urban, and it shows you how green I was, a real urban garden but they weren’t delights just like grime and grit.

And there was old lady there and I was talking to her and I suppose I thought I was being nice trying to empathise.  And she was saying it wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for them.  And I said who do you mean, and she kept talking them, they might come through the window at any time.  And there were some black kids in the launderette and she gestured towards them and then she said them, them, the blacks.  And I went through the rest of the ritual but my clothes as much as I could, tipped them back in the bag and I just vowed never to use a laundrette again.  And I didn’t.  I only would only get a service wash.  That is my story.

After that encounter the whole sum total of it, it just felt like it was too much of… but having said that there is one other story of the laundrette which was on Bethnal Green Road.  I was walking home drunk 20 years later and there was a man and his dog on a dirty blanket and a girl, like a punk girl sitting on the washing machine.  And I think there was another guy asleep on top of the machines while they were working wrapped up in a sleeping bag.  And I went in and I had a little party with them and we had a really good laugh.

Transcribed from an interview, August 2009

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