It’s fair to say that there aren’t too many launderettes which really grab your attention.
But Dorrell Bravo, owner of Tumbles on Railton Road, has made his establishment a Brixton institution.
We’ve written previously about his launderette-cum-community hub and the great work he does there, including picking up and returning the washing of the elderly and others who might struggle to get out to do it for themselves: at no extra cost, just because he thinks it’s right to put community first.
Bravo, as he is known locally, is someone who reflects so much of what is great about Brixton: character, humour, and humanity.
So it was heart-warming to see his amazing work immortalised in a beautiful new short film.
We see Bravo talking about his work, we see him engaging with the world around him, we see a grateful resident glowing with appreciation. It is incredible and empowering.
And then, out of nowhere:
“Guinness – Made of More.”
Bravo takes a sip of the good stuff, and we are told that Guinness, like Bravo, is made of something special.
Where did you just come from Guinness?
Because I didn’t hear you in the conversation in the launderette. And I don’t see you in the spirit that made Bravo want to help people around him. And I certainly didn’t hear you in the warm acknowledgement of a good deed from the elderly resident. In fact, I haven’t seen you in our community at all.
You’re not about building ties between people, you’re about selling beer. In fact, if you were in our community, Guinness, you’d be someone sitting silently at a streetstall engaging in cold transactions. People would avoid eye contact with you.
It’s interesting, after having written last week about how big businesses approach Brixton in different ways to see Guinness seek to plant itself in the community. Of course they’re all chasing the golden economic forecast of gentrifying Brixton, but there are gradations of just how abrasively, gut-churningly, hollow some branding exercises can be.
The work Bravo does is amazing – and with his business under threat because the landlord of the building is threatening to turn the space into private rental for middle class renters (incidentally, renters who fit precisely the demographic and customer-base Guinness is seeking to target and build on in the area) I’m sure this is a great profile boost for him.
Bravo probably does love Guinness as well.
But I wish there were more films made like this which didn’t have the final tagline. Films which show the inspiring and heroic feats which go on in our community every day, and don’t cynically and shamefully co-opt them just to butter us up and then rifle through our wallet.