Today on Mare Street the air smacks of retribution.
Life returns to normal for many. Mr Barker who owns the franchise for the Pizza Hut takeaway on the corner, sighs, as he serves his last stuffed-crust meat feast pizza to the final remaining police marksman. He himself is only just out of the Academy in Hendon. Not local to Hackney, he will never return. The relationship he has built up with Mr Barker over the last two weeks has reached it’s twlight phase. No more will he watch as Barker ruggedly sprinkles spicy pork ‘bits’ over the gore-coloured tomato base and top it off with a generous handful of mozzarella. He won’t forget this case. But for what reason? A siege is a siege but it is the crossing of spiritual paths of individuals such as Mr Barker and his marksman friend that will make the difference to Hackney. Eli Hall is dead but Mr Barker lives, perhaps for the first time in his seemingly insignificant life? He has been touched by this enlightened youngster with eyes like a hawk, and his life has a new meaning. No longer will he frown as the young drunks and pillheads slur their orders to him on Friday nights. No longer will he “forget” to put ice in their Fanta or add anchovies when they are clearly not fishy types. Barker is a new man and he is not the only one. Hackney has changed. You can smell it.
On the other side of the coin however, there is bad feeling. Homes have been destroyed, residents frightened and animals neglected. There is no quick-fix for the unfortunate few. They will demand an explanation. They will burn the witch. But which witch? The witch with the gun or the witch with none? It doesn’t matter to Muriel – she has been trapped in her home since Boxing Day with a husband she despises and a dog that yaps. They say that every home’s a prison but this is ridiculous. This is one marriage that won’t recover – the stifling tension has all been too much. As soon as the police gave the all-clear Muriel ran and she still hasn’t stopped running. She is running into her lover’s arms – the lover that she had decided to stop seeing before Christmas and go back to her husband. But the intense nature of the last two weeks has brought it all flooding back – the reasons why she hates her husband and why her boyfriend is so much better for her. One day Muriel will curse the siege and wonder why she ever thought it could work with this other man and start thinking about Philip again and Frodo the dog. You see, change isn’t always good. There’s a lot to think about.
But in the meantime, if you’re in Hackney on the 23rd January then why not join the RaveTap DJ’s at the District, 19 Amhurst Rd. It’s free entry and sure to cheer up even the most sombre of miseries.