The day I left England, parts of London were in flames. Riots on the cities streets.
Below is the last photograph that I took in England (from the car window on the way to the airport) knowing I was leaving UK, probably for good, it was a strange photograph to be my last. It is of the Sony warehouse on the M25 24 hours after being set alight and still burning acrid toxic smoke. A petrol bomb had burnt down this treasured independent music archive.
And this is the first photograph I took in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. A woman sells newspapers in the middle of the road.
There was a feeling of desertion that I struggled with for a few days. Maybe I should be at home I thought to myself? Then I met the below young woman to be and I knew I was in the right place…
Channary (which means moon face, is just thirteen though clearly looking far younger in comparison to the young people of the UK) works for a living for her family. A box of secondhand tourist books strung around her neck she used better charm than the market traders of Spitalfields, London, to put dollars into the pockets that would buy that evenings supper.
Even when she knew that we would not buy she stayed to talk and joke in beautiful broken English. Channary won’t be going to school as she needs to work to help feed her family but she can speak another language already and has the cutest cheek and wit. She reminded me of my daughter. Young, brave, hardworking, adventurous, funny, streetwise and warmhearted.
Cambodia has a lot to say, I want to hear it all and am looking forward to every second of it.