Got home around five to find a lot of kids in the proverbial hoodies hanging around the estate. A teenage girl walking her well-muscled bull terrier on the walkway, barely able to hold it back as it strains on its’ leash. Some kids hanging a terrace halfway up thebuilding, and some more kids, mostly black, edging up the stairs to join them. Briefly, I considered catching the lift to avoid them, but when the lift didn’t come and went up the stairs – and as it turned out one of the black kids ducked his head around the stairwell when he heard me coming up then they all ducked to the lift before I got to the top of the stairs.
When I got to my floor, I looked down to see what all the fuss was about. Two bike cops in yellow vests had stopped someone on the street below and some black people – men and women, council workers or possibly detectives – were conferring with them and suddenly four regular patrolman rushed out of a stairwell. When the melee cleared, I made out two skinny black kids in full hoodie gear being interrogated by the cops, edging them back into the stairwell then out again.
The kids came out again onto the terrace below me to watch what was going on. They were mixed between black, Hispanic and white and spoke mostly in Spanish and even their English was tinged with an American accent. Two guys came up the walkway below eathing chips and greasy fried chicken from Styrofoam containers. They wore derivative gang-banger gear with their heads pulled down and after glancing at the cops made some sort of hand gesture and went away. But the kids on the terraces seemed to be enjoying themselves. Way up near the top, some girls had come out and were shouting out to the boys – “Come up! Come up!” And one girl laned out so far her long hair fell straight down – and I was worried for a moment she would slip and come tumbling out of the fencing and down past me and the boys and down to the rampway with it’s peeling paint – but she slipped back in and the boys waved up and shouted something I couldn’t make out, and then everyone went back to watching the show down below – where nothing much was happening except the two black kids in hoodies were still being interrogated by the police . ..