The West London Dump. Park Royal. I have used my West London resident chip to dump a rented van load of stuff without paying. I think you get one every year.

Arriving at the dump I immediately recognise the guy who is “supervising”. I think I wrote a blog about him once, when I had the Soul Van and was doing clearances. I got to know him because I told him I had already salvaged the things that were resellable long before I got to him. Back then he didn’t believe me for 3 loads when I said I’d sorted it. He watched everything super closely. After the third he stopped being interested in my output as he understood that I knew value and he trusted me. He let me do one load almost entirely unsupervised. That’s about when I could’ve made a fortune illegally dumping nuclear asbestos bodies.

He knows the perks of his “I work in the dump” job very very well, that guy. He works a low paid job, but he’s managed to make it positive for himself. “I normally work up in the commercial bit,” he tells me and I know that because I used to have him watch my every move as I was throwing every single box. He was looking for treasure. And nuclear waste. But your eye attunes to what is “normal”. I haven’t been in the domestic waste bit before. When I had the van it was normally up in commercial. In domestic waste, you sort things into categories. It takes a lot longer, but you feel much more as if the things you are throwing away will find another life. In commercial waste, where we had no choice but to throw the Rotterdam flats, it feels like it’s just geared for speed. Even though we had mostly wood, it’ll be just munged and burnt. This is not helpful. It means that the individuals have a romantic idea about dumps, where they put everything into bays and then the things go back round. But the truth is, while you’re carefully separating your cardboard, just up the road there are fifteen vans hydraulically dumping random shit that will just be compacted. Unless the guys at the tip rescue it. Like the guy I remembered.

His home is likely a palace of random beauty. He has an active eBay I’m sure. He’s worked it all out. People throw away lovely things.

I had to throw away something like 6 crates of beer once, after a corporate job. “Take them to the dump,” I was told. And then the producer literally actually came with me in the van to make sure I threw them away. “Sometimes people are asked to take things to the dump and they don’t do it,” he said. “I’m here to make sure you do.” I still think that guy was a fucking psychopath, sitting with me to make sure I threw the beer away… But he was paying me and he had bought the beer, so in the end he had the choice. He could have stopped it. He didn’t.

It still burns me thinking about it, but the beer we threw would’ve been drunk by the likes of my dumpfriend. And maybe that’s okay, because all I can remember about the producer who came in the van with me was that he was unbelievably socially awkward and that nowadays I would have just fought him and distributed the beer amongst the staff, but I’m happier for it to have gone to the dump staff than somebody as awkward as him.

I can’t even remember what the job was. But what a tit, supervising me to throw away beer. I remember very clearly, he volunteered himself into the van at the literal last second. Because yeah, you can be absolutely certain, I would not have thrown that beer away if he hadn’t come in the van to make sure I did. But that is the behaviour of somebody literally evil.

“Did that lion just show up one day?” “Yes.” “Thought so. Great work putting it up there.”

A lion on a plinth. But that must be just the shallow end of what is dropped off in these places. Like me with my unwilling six crates of beer. I knew I was throwing something useful, but I had blonde mister high status on my shoulder and I was way too young and obedient to defy him. Worse things happen all the time.

I was listening to an interview with the son of Harpo Marx. Salvador Dali was a huge admirer of Harpo’s silence. Said he was a true surrealist. He constructed a harp strung with barbed wire as a special gift to Harpo, expressing the pain of his creativity. Harpo’s wife thought it was ugly and pointless. She threw it away. Terrifying in retrospect. Surely even in his lifetime Dali was known enough for her to have a sense of how many millions such a harp could command? Maybe not though. Like the people our dump friend relies on for his wonders. “New lamps for old!” Throw away your beautiful things and replace them with molded plastic tack!!

I threw a lot of furniture into those boxes. It was hard but there’s nowhere to put it. There was one chair I just couldn’t dump. I don’t know how it made its way to us but it was made out of oak and leather at least 200 years ago and I couldn’t just hurl it… It’s in my boot. It’ll likely end up on the street.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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