Memoir of An Anti-Homeless Spike

‘A deterrent stud’ they called me. My employers decided it would be better for public image if I were removed. Thousands of people walked past me each day and rarely noticed me, but since the Guardian thinkpiece, some people struggled to come to terms with my savage elegance. And now, plied unceremoniously from the slab of granite I had been protecting, I’m here, in a recycling plant where I’ll probably be melted down into a door knob or something shitty like that. So as I await my destiny, I thought I would take the opportunity to look back on my life. Why am I here, who made me? What does it all mean?

A youthful sparkle used to radiate from me, curves, soft yet annoying. I was the perfect complement to the power-washed and bustling plaza of backstreet London. Always soaked in piss and smog, and yet agreeable. It doesn’t take much to imagine me in any other version of that kind of place, I was ubiquitous and utilitarian.

The hand does not craft an object like me, it is turned, and milled, and ground and polished. I am precise and one of many, value for money and valuable. Imagine a hundred of me rolling off a production line, imagine the proud faces of every skilled manager who delivered an object like me on time and under such a generous budget. Think of the designer who put aside their portfolio of sporks and armchairs and waited as a chrome rendering appears detailing my considered silhouette.

It’s quite a genius idea really, if you don’t like the look of someone, piss them off until they leave. They shouldn’t be here anyway. It’s not a hotel out here, it’s a place for briefly relaxing away from the buffeting wind, the cold serenity of a chlorinated water feature catches your eye. Another Pret. It’s familiar and comforting, your next meeting got pushed back, your train is delayed, it doesn’t matter, take a seat, but not for too long.

I had a duty to perform, and one I served well, now people think I’m brash and obtuse. I ‘should be a piece of art’ the council says. I am a piece of art I say. Nobody can protect the view of ski poles in Snow & Rock like I can. They think I should be more like a planter, thirty-somethings love plants, ‘it distracts them from the terrorism’ they say.

I’m not just another piece of steel to be fixed to another piece of stone. I’m part of a bigger plan, I’m endorsed by the government, I am best practice, it’s written down in countless ring-binders. So as I sit and wait to burn, I feel proud because I made a real impact in my life and my legacy remains. Think about me next time you rest your arm on an awkward steel armrest, and if that disturbs you then do a photo-essay or something.
Article written for EYESORE magazine issue 4.
Full magazine available
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