Walking from Stockwell tube station to Max’s house I see a perfect visual metaphor for the bleaker side of urban living. A paving slab has been removed and a spindly baby tree set in its place. Where the trunk enters the ground, the whole gap has been filled in with gravel. Over the top of this is a layer of hard shiny lacquer: the gravel has been glazed solid. The end of a hosepipe pokes out through the glaze, so that the tree can be watered. No rainwater will reach these roots.
On top of the shiny glazed gravel, right by the tree, is a dog turd.