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  • - C'mon, come here.

  • Stay close or you'll go back on your lead.

  • (piano clinking tunelessly)

  • Tony, get over here.

  • Come on, let's go and get some black bags, come on.

  • (piano clinking tunelessly)

  • There's a sense of if you needed something,

  • or you were in trouble in any way,

  • there's a lot more people willing to help people than,

  • you know, just to go that extra bit, than there was before.

  • It was just because they never mixed.

  • - It needs a serious amount of tender, loving care

  • to bring it back up to scratch.

  • - I don't care whether somebody's got

  • three million pound or three pound, it don't bother me.

  • Everyone is the same, no matter who you are.

  • Livingstone, I don't want these sofas pulled out.

  • I don't want these sofas pulled back out.

  • There's a hell of a lot of different working class people

  • in these flats: teachers, nurses,

  • social workers, road sweepers, you know.

  • The way it was put in the media and everything else

  • that it was subsidised housing, mainly unemployed

  • and everything else. It ain't that sort of area.

  • (footsteps)

  • (piano)

  • Apparently when these tower blocks were built,

  • they were built for a 20-year lifespan.

  • This is 50 years old now, they do need work done on them.

  • I mean, they need new lifts,

  • the plumbing isn't the greatest.

  • I think there's debris in the pipework and everything else

  • that means it blocks up slowly.

  • It's the same as any other place, you make it the way it is.

  • It's your home.

  • (straining strings music)

  • - I was quite lucky when it happened.

  • I kept waking up during the night

  • but I didn't actually get up.

  • It was only when I got up about half past six

  • that I went to the kitchen and my kitchen window was open,

  • so I obviously heard a lot more noise,

  • and I saw the helicopter already.

  • And I look out, and I scream.

  • So, most mornings when I get up and I go to the kitchen,

  • that's my first thought again.

  • - If you look sideways there, you'll see it.

  • I think it started just after one.

  • And they phone me up, and of course I came in here

  • and I look, oh my God.

  • It was like a box of matches going up together, you know.

  • The evening before Grenfell in June,

  • I looked out of the window at sunset time

  • and that is 24 hours later, from my kitchen window again.

  • - When you put gas pipes through the staircase

  • in a tower block, you know, you should be shot for that.

  • That is the point, you what I mean?

  • - There's people that you meet and you talk to

  • and you didn't realise they came out of Grenfell.

  • You just know I'm from around the area, so.

  • I mean, I live in Whitstable where I guess

  • there's people that don't know where I live,

  • you know, they just see me walking the dog.

  • I knew quite a few families in there.

  • I know some that got out and I know some that didn't.

  • - This is Dixon House, that's Whitstable House over there,

  • that's Markland House, and that's Frinstead House.

  • That is always looming over us.

  • We're less than 200 metres from the tower.

  • We didn't just see it, we heard it,

  • we felt it, we smelled it, you know,

  • and it's just, everybody's been affected.

  • It's basically a tomb in the sky.

  • And that's what I call dystopia,

  • because that kind of thing doesn't happen.

  • Not in 21st century in England.

  • In London.

  • In the Borough of Kensington, you know.

  • That tower was there for 40 years, nothing happened to it.

  • As soon as they got their hands on it,

  • to make it look nice for their friends,

  • that happened.

  • (straining strings music)

  • - [Newscaster] Peaky, hello, I gather you witnessed

  • much of what happened last night.

  • - These fires have never happened.

  • I've lived here my entire life.

  • My mom's lived here a very long time,

  • and these kind of things have never,

  • ever happened in this area, like I'm not really fucking

  • with the government right now--

  • - [Newscaster] Hey, I'm gonna apologise for the language.

  • I'm gonna apologise for the language.

  • - Just everyone wants to tell me their Grenfell experience,

  • because they know my face due to that,

  • so they might have thought that I'm the guy

  • to talk to or something, and then I'm just absorbing

  • everyone's experience of it and then I'm just thinking

  • about it more, and more, and more, and more, and more.

  • It's just not healthy.

  • Obviously now, there's a massive patch

  • that you've gotta try not to look at.

  • I wouldn't call myself a victim, just because I know--

  • Like, how can I do it?

  • I see this every day that I can't call myself

  • a victim in it, though.

  • I can't say I'm probably not affected,

  • but I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm a victim in it.

  • (straining strings music)

  • (train whirring)

  • - I was born here.

  • I was born across the road in a place called

  • Aldermaston Street, but because of Westway

  • the houses were pulled down and we moved into Dixon House.

  • I moved there with my parents and then I was

  • eighteen when I got the flat here.

  • If I had the choice, I would sell and buy a house,

  • if it wasn't for the fact that I'm looking after my parents.

  • Basically, they helped me when I was a single parent,

  • so it's just payback time.

  • (traffic whirring)

  • - Before they put all this up here,

  • this was all houses and shops, all along here.

  • - They have agreed to re-house,

  • they've agreed to acquire the houses

  • and re-house the people.

  • We were told last Thursday that it might take

  • as long as 18 months, and this of course, is not acceptable.

  • - [Joe's Father] We were on the flyover protesting

  • about the houses coming down.

  • There was a big crowd of us that day.

  • - [Interviewer] What's it been like, living here?

  • - Well, it has frankly been Hell.

  • (door creaks)

  • (lock clicks)

  • They're not bad flats on the inside,

  • when you come in, you know.

  • That's Joe when he was young. Yeah, very young.

  • He was only a baby then.

  • He was an altar boy.

  • (straining strings music)

  • (door clanks and creaks open)

  • - I was quite scared when I first came, I have to say.

  • Especially when I looked down the window.

  • I thought, "Oh, my God. I'm all the way up here."

  • I come from the seaside, so for me the thing

  • that relaxes me is more being at sea level.

  • Sometimes you come in the lift, and someone new comes,

  • say, "Oh, where are you going?"

  • And you tell them, "To 19th Floor."

  • "Oh, you go all the way there."

  • When I first came to my balcony

  • and my daughter was very young,

  • and my balcony was up to here,

  • so I put the netting up to make it safe.

  • I was quite worried that she would fall over.

  • I remember hearing something about a young boy that,

  • yeah, he had basically falling out of the window.

  • It was quite sad, really.

  • These blocks, they need a lot of work,

  • but to regenerate, to make this look better,

  • they're gonna have to spend a lot of money, you know.

  • I know that because they haven't done anything for years.

  • You know, if you don't look after something

  • on a yearly basis, obviously you leave it for 20 years,

  • for 30 years, then it's going to be very expensive,

  • whatever you want to do to it.

  • I can see that there's things in here.

  • They will have to be fixed, this is all loose already.

  • (traffic whirring)

  • - I was lucky to get a ground floor flat, I was very lucky.

  • It's light, you hardly hear your neighbours.

  • It's spacey, they're built to a decent standard.

  • The problem is, they let it go.

  • I mean, this is 20 years, what they've been doing

  • to these buildings, it's criminal, basically.

  • It's a shame that they let it go like that,

  • so we have to live in a slum.

  • That's why I do that work around here to remind people,

  • you know, there's more to it than what they offer us,

  • we have to make the best of what we got.

  • (door creaks)

  • (birds chirping)

  • - It's like an oasis of calm.

  • Even the air changes, the smell changes, everything.

  • All you can hear is the wind in the trees and the birds.

  • We're sort of in a limbo at the moment.

  • In nature, regeneration is rebirth and renewal of something

  • that's died, or damaged, or something like that.

  • But if something is alive and very much growing,

  • how can you justify killing it in order to regenerate it?

  • That's not regeneration, that's degeneration.

  • - They did regeneration last year to that building

  • that they're talking about doing to all of these buildings,

  • they did it to that building only,

  • ten million pounds they're talking about,

  • and put these shoddy plastic things on there

  • that set up alight because they want

  • more reasons to knock these blocks down.

  • I feel like, in these time, such uncertain times,

  • everyone's just lost.

  • We're in a world where people look for an opinion first,

  • they don't look for information to educate themselves first.

  • This whole madness happened, and then my interview

  • with the BBC went viral.

  • I got offered a couple other interviews

  • and it was a lot of pressure.

  • People complain about the serious issues,

  • like elevators being broken, windows being smashed.

  • A window killed a 10 year old child in that building.

  • A 10 year old child fell to his death

  • from the 18th Floor of that building,

  • and it didn't even touch the news, they just covered it up

  • and they didn't even fix the windows.

  • - The windows have got catches on them

  • that you can release them, so they'll swing round.

  • But after time, them catches get broke.

  • Now I don't know whether the catches were broke,

  • or what happened, but he was looking out of his window

  • and apparently shouted to one of his friends,

  • and the next thing, he fell down.

  • I was out with my son and we were just coming

  • round the corner when it happened.

  • We actually turned the corner as he hit the ground.

  • Which is something you won't forget.

  • The same as Grenfell, you won't forget it,

  • but I think it was a failing, again, from the Council.

  • They don't come round and check the windows,

  • or anything else, so it could happen again.

  • To see a body shaking, I think it took about an hour.

  • To be truthful, I was the one that had to go

  • and get buckets of water and bleach

  • because it was in front of our doorway,

  • and they didn't do anything about the blood.

  • I was there for about three hours bleaching

  • that pavement afterwards, just so that

  • you didn't have to walk through it.

  • You woulda thought they would have sent a cleaner round,

  • you know what I mean, or something, but--

  • That was a Saturday afternoon,

  • when all the kids were playing down there.

  • I've had rows where I got stabbed here before,

  • but you still get over it, I was still going

  • back to work the next day, so you know.

  • It's one of these areas, you gotta stand your ground.

  • If you don't stand your ground people will walk over you.