Strange light in the skies over Leytonstone (seen from Ilford)

Yesterday I decided to tackle the video footage accumulated on the 10 walks I did for my book, This Other London – adventures in the overlooked city (published in September by HarperCollins).
I laid all four hours of rushes down on a timeline. The very last clip was shot by my wife through the front window of a number 145 bus as we trundled down Eastern Avenue from Ilford approaching Redbridge Roundabout. I hadn’t looked at this clip before as it was after the last walk had ended and we were making our way home – a part of the journey not included in the book.

As Final Cut rendered the footage (it was a different frame rate to the rest of the timeline) it played the clip back much slower than real-time and I noticed a strange light in the corner of the frame near the end of the clip. Assuming it was a reflection in the window I went back through the clip – there was no reflection in the glass. I went through the clip frame by frame till I was convinced that it was indeed a fast moving light across the skyline at sunset. But what was it?

I posted it on Youtube & Twitter yesterday and comments seem to suggest it’s either a shooting star, a meteorite or perhaps space debris. Nobody seems to think it’s a UFO sadly. I’d been to the three places you’re most likely to get abducted by aliens in London – Woolwich, Clapham Common, and Walthamstow – and not seen a single ET or funny light in the sky. Were a group of narcissistic Greys trying to get a mention on the final page? Probably not. But the plausible explanations are cosmic enough for me.
I like the idea that the end of my year-long journey exploring some of the regions of ‘overlooked’ London was marked by a shooting star in the skies over Leytonstone.

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Ilford – The Eastern Queen

Episode 5: The Eastern Queen (Ilford)

Inspired by Thomas Burke’s The Outer Circle: Rambles in Remote London, Nick Papadimitriou and John Rogers explore the far-lying eastern suburb of Ilford.
Burke , like other writers of the early 20th Century, was disdainful of Ilford. Writing in 1921 he said of ‘the Eastern Queen’ that, “After Walthamstow it comes as tepid soda-water upon an August noon. Ilford wears an expression of unfulfilled desire. It hungers for colour. Even the rush and turmoil about the Broadway have a frigid tone.”

Nick and John ignored his advice and headed out along the Romford Road to find a visionary landscape, optimistic and vibrant, ‘rising from alluvial Essex’.
With reading by Heidi Lapaine and music by Europa51

Read more about this episode here

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