A friend of mine told me that being in Tooting is a bit like being in Pakistan, people leap into the road when they feel like it. My friend is Pakistani, I hasten to add… I have another friend, a Sri Lankan, who heads to Tooting as he says it's the only place to get decent spices in South London. I head to Tooting to catch on film the slightly amateurish business signs, the vibrant market and the general chaos of busy London life.
The variety of restaurants in Tooting guarantees something that will appeal to everyone. The slant is on Indian cuisine, with vibrant Sri Lankan places (Apollo Banana Leaf not only has a great name, but is always busy) and hectic informal dining like Lahore Karahi, which is also bustling. The smells alone are enough to whet your appetite. And don’t forget to check out the eclectic supermarkets with their huge variety of produce.
But if you want good photo opportunities, apart from all the people-watching and food, head to the market at Tooting Broadway. Neon signs, fabric and clothing stalls, halal meat and fish sellers, a small bird emporium, nail salons and food stands are all great to capture on film. The people in the market are easy-going and let you snap away contentedly.
When you get weary of the bustle of Tooting around the High Street, branch out a little and head to Tooting Common, a short bus ride away from Tooting Market. There you’ll find an open space for sporting activities, with trees and plant life (my favourite – gorse bushes!), and even Tooting Lido (but they really don’t approve of you snapping there!) It’s a great place to go if you have a dog – he’ll be grateful for the run around, and you’ll be grateful for the shots you get of him enjoying the open air (dig out the Fisheye!).
Get to Tooting on the Northern Line for Tooting Broadway or Tooting Bec, and bus 319 for Tooting Common. And bring plenty of film.