Anyone who helps to keep our streets clean is a hero, but the man in charge of that in Archway has a connection to the most famous superhero of all...
We spoke to Steve Wigzell, Area Manager, Street Cleansing - snow was threatened and he was texting his crew throughout the interview about keeping grit bins filled.
What does it take to keep our streets clean?
We have a team of street sweepers, a mechanical sweeper for pavements and a travelling van which circulates constantly, picking up the bags of rubbish we collect. The team starts at 6 in the morning and after they've finished at 1.30, I head in to our depot to deal with the admin. Our team - Area One - covers an enormous area: Crouch End Hill to Carleton Rd, Hanley Rd to the Odean on Holloway Rd [that's about four square miles].
And you live in Archway, what brought you here?
I've more or less lived here all my life. I was born in Hanley Rd and moved back here permanently when I was ten. Although the area has changed a lot - the Co-op used to be a complete department store that my nan used to visit as a treat - there are still a lot of local people that I've known all my life. I still meet up with colleagues and former colleagues once a week at a cafe in Junction Rd.
How did you get your current job?
I worked my way up; when I first started, I was a street sweeper. I was about to get married and I needed a steady income. My previous job was freelance and much more precarious.
What did you do?
I was special effects cameraman working at a studio in Wardour Street. We worked on films such as Superman, The Elephant Man, Quadrophenia, and we filmed all the animation cells for PInk Floyd's The Wall.
Our studio was at the forefront of special effects but it was still much it was more labourious than current CGI. When we were photographing Christopher Reeve for the Superman flying sequences, we had to use a crane and wires. The wires were invisible because they vibrated at a speed faster than the rate of frames per second which old fashioned film cameras recorded. We were cutting edge, for the time. (In earlier films the technology was even more basic. If you look at a superhero film from the fifties you'll be able to see that the actors often have very flat chests with no pectoral muscles. This was because they were 'flying' lying on a glass table and filmed from underneath.)
It was painstaking, but I did get to work with a number of stars such as Jacquiline Bisset, Joan Collins, Christopher Reeve and John Hurt. I enjoy what I do now, but I still think about the old days in Soho, and from time to time the old special effects gang still meet up.