I died a hundred times

Monument in Abney Park cemetery 

The ever Minnie Driver-esque Amy Winehouse filmed the atmospheric video for Back To Black at Abney Park Cemetery. That’s where I found myself on Saturday, testing my camera and still not knowing why some daytime shots look like they’ve been taken at night.

It’s a curious kind of place. I’ve discovered in me a fascination with these places, the sort of rambling, completely overgrown Victorian parks strewn with graves simple and ornate, from small, understated clusters of headstones to sprawling monuments, from the barely-visible to the oft-upkept. Abney Park is not home to the most grandiose monumentalia (go to Highgate) but it’s close, and maybe even more fascinating. It’s a non-conformist cemetery, built around 160 years ago when that meant something: so when you couldn’t have your grave with the great and good for religious convictions, you came to Abney Park to be among the greats of your faith. So you’ll find here a monument to Isaac Watts whose grounds house the graveyard; William Booth, founder of the salvation army; abolitionists like Christopher Newman Hall, James Stephen, Samuel Morley and Aaron Buzzacott. You’ll also find Albert Chevalier, Emily Gosse and Susanna Bostock.

So no stench of death here, rather the peace and quiet of those satisfied with their death and those who had something to be proud of in life. As such it’s a beautiful way to spend the afternoon, whether in contemplation, for a stroll, to take some pictures, or as in the locals’ case, to sniff some glue. These places calm me down.

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One Response

  1. She is absolutely my No.1 performer right now. What a superb superstar. Just fabulous!

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