Political Apocalypse: Welcome To The End Of The World

Written by: Sophie Taylor

It’s a cold, November day. The leaves have turned burned ombre, the sky has streaks of bright orange, we slip on a discarded satsuma. Falling slowly to the ground, we laugh at ourselves helplessly and the empty giggles echo around the streets for at least four more years.

In these surreal and shaky times, we ask the locals of Newington Green what they’d do on their last day on Earth. Plans mostly involve alcohol, but mainly focused on gathering friends. Welcome to the apocalypse in Newington Green.

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We take a deep breath. We begrudgingly trudge across the leafy grass of Newington Green, still wet with dew, wondering what the dogs must think of us twisted, pitiful humans. We reach solace at Lizzie’s, a cafe full of promise and vegan cake in these depressing times.

Martha smiles at us knowingly, pours us a coffee, keeping our gaze all the while. It’s reassuring. Handing it over she explains her plans for the end. “A boozy bonfire, right here in the middle of the green, with all my friends.” Her work mate Dan chimes in, “But what about getting drunk in the pub?”

Martha looks towards the dogs and the locals as old as time reclining on the deckchairs, laughing amongst themselves.

“No, we need to be outside, with nature, on the grass. It’s the end of the world. We don’t want to be inside a building now.”

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Buoyed by cream cheese icing and caffeine, we float across the zebra crossing to the candle lit charcuterie, Yield. Tony is leaning on a barrel of his olive oil, popping open a bottle of his homemade farmhouse red wine as we enter.

What are you going to do Tony? What are your plans for this end of days?

He offers us each a glass and we all sip contentedly while he decides. Those Italian grapes have got a lot to answer for. This is some easy drinking adult juice.

“I am going to host a picnic here, with all the passionate local business owners of Newington Green”. He describes the apocalyptic harvest they will ‘yield’ (geddit), bringing together the incredible tastes of local cafes and restaurants to create an epic picnic inside his four walls.

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Starting to feel a little more positive (/tipsy), we trip round the corner onto Green Lanes. Mark from Atom Gallery is spraying Moet over the walls of his new gallery with a large group of friends, cackling and twisting to Northern Soul. The rhythms follow us down the road as we slip in to collective art space, Greenhouse for shelter from the rust coloured rain. People are still creating fantastic, soul wrenching and witty art on their macbooks, sipping flat whites. Nick Cave plays out from the swinging pod chair speakers.

Strangely hungry we’re drawn to Lottie of Feest London, the cafe within Greenhouse. She’s ravenous too, telling us her apocalyptic plans to eat her way around Newington Green. “Starting with my friends at Lizzies on the Green I’ll have delicious cake, followed by tapas at Trangallan, washed down with a nightcap at Newington Table. Of course we’ll all come back here for the real ending, as this is the coolest place to hang out”. She’s not wrong.

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At this point we remember our friends still taking shelter from the cold in The Lady Mildmay pub. We rush back to tell them everything’s okay, we’ve met some happy positive people and we don’t have to be miserable. Bursting through the doors we see them whipping their hair to David Bowie’s ‘Five Years’ and spilling warm glasses of mulled cider in hearty chin chins. Steve, the owner, is watching over the merriments and stirring the pot of bubbling alcohol. We ask how he is and what he wants to do next. “I’m continuing to be the host tonight. From The Lady Mildmay you’ve got front row seats to the end of the world. We’re still going to serve food, pull pints and make cocktails.”

Loyal and professional to the end, the friendly folks of Newington Green have made us laugh while keeping us warm, nourished and drunk. What more can you ask for amongst friends in an apocalypse? It’s the end of the world as we know it. Chin up and chin chin.

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