A weird, intoxicating jumble of creeks, oil jetties, bungalows and blues music
What’s going for it? Islands are magical. Step over the water and something weird happens, as if normal rules have been suspended. What else could explain Canvey Island? On paper, it shouldn’t work. What, sunbathing next to petrochemical plants? Why ever not? What, a mudflat metres below water, mostly covered in detached houses, bungalows and mobile homes, with a dash of 18th-century Dutch, a soupcon of 1930s modernism (the Labworth cafe, the Monico pub, swoon), nature reserves of incredible biodiversity, all to a soundtrack of proto-punk pub rock? Why ever not? Julien Temple’s rockumentary Oil City Confidential, about the “best local band in the world”, Dr Feelgood, proposed Canvey Island as Britain’s Mississippi delta, an intoxicating, romantic jumble of creeks, oil jetties and blues music. Sounds improbable? Then you haven’t been. Nothing seems odd again after you cross the creek.
The case against The weirdness won’t be for all. Water, water everywhere… disaster came calling in 1953. The defences built afterwards are sturdy, but for how long? Congestion at rush hour.