"Smoke acknowledged a private and intimate London that belonged to each of the contributors and now the urban poetry has wafted away."
One of my miseries is the demise of the idiosyncratic in London; The homogeneity of chain stores and restaurants, the replacement of interesting hard copy with the fractured madness of the internet. Shared appreciation of marginalia seems to be a thing of the past.
When I heard of the demise of the magazine Smoke, a London Peculiar after 11 years I was saddened. It was set up by Matt Haynes and Jude Rogers and was primarily Matt’s baby. It was, in its own words:
…a love-letter to London, to the wet neon flicker of late-night pavements, electric with endless possibility, and the soft dishevelled beauty of the city’s dawn to the overheard stories and unexplored histories, the facts and the fictions, the accidental poetry and fugitive art of graffiti-slashed suburban stations and rain-splashed shop fronts the out-of-shot lives half-glimpsed from a train window, or from a phone number scrawled on the back of a Travelcard, dropped on the night-bus stairs.
Smoke provided a vehicle for writing and photography about London but viewed from a different prism to most conventional reportage. It acknowledged a private and intimate London that belonged to each of the contributors and now the urban poetry has wafted away often with puckish humour. Farewell then Smoke.