Cold, dark and wet in the drizzle, down by the river Thames on Friday night looking for a party. Boom boom boom - the sound of gabber in the distance, head towards it and find the sound system? No, a false trail, it's just engine noise from a passing boat.
Adjourn to the pub and try again, head through alleyways and past building sites and you're there. The cold and darkness partially dispelled by a fire on the beach, a barbecue pit dug into the sand, yes real sand in South London. You've seen pictures from the 1930s, deckchairs and sunbathing on the Thames - how many Londoners ever get down to their beaches today? But tonight some of us are, even in the absence of sun.
Old boats on the shore, relics of the almost vanished working river of docks and ferrymen. City lights across the water, banks and offices of the 'new' London. This too shall pass.
Small sound system, techno, Jill Scott, Ray Charles. Nice music but it's not really a night for dancing, more for huddling around the fire, drinking, chatting, eating - deep fried tempura freshly cooked in barbecue-heated oil. Who knew?
Full moon on one side, the river on the other, tidally creeping up the beach. It will disperse the party before the authorities will, in any case I doubt if anybody's complained. Remarkably in the early 21st century city there are still isolated spaces away from sleeping residents. Maybe for not much longer as every brownfield old industrial site is earmarked for development. Then again maybe recession will create new zones of dereliction for squatters and party goers to recycle...