South West

Mar 102014
 

“Do I look like someone who needs a sorbet-maker?” he dolefully asks the bleary-eyed flotsam piled up on the N3’s stairs as birthday gifts are passed between strangers for appraisal.

Jan 272014
 
Swaps

Swaps by Chris Long
All the same, I remember them – and everyone else who lived in a council block – putting notices in the local paper looking for swaps. That is, asking someone with a house and a garden if they would swap. Even at the time, the idea seemed a bit far-fetched: of course someone with a house and a garden would consider moving to the fifteenth floor of a block of flats where, when the wind blew hard, the water swayed in the toilet bowl. [read more...]

Nov 032013
 
The Ghost of Tooting Bec Common

by Kevin Acott
Normans from Bec ended up in Streatham, as everyone does, and settled on Tooting Common, building a swimming pool but running out of money before they could get the roof done. Eventually, they integrated with a local tribe of fearsome, though eternally disappointed, warriors known as Palisfans and, to all intents and purposes, disappeared, leaving behind only the name of the place and the infamous South West London shoulder shrug. [read more...]

Nov 012013
 

As the one o’clock mums race their prams round Wandsworth Park, she suddenly falters, breathless, and – staring down at Archie’s gurgling face – thinks bleakly of sports days to come.

Oct 212013
 
A History of Fennel in Wimbledon

by Mark Sadler
If Father Hendlam were alive today he would grab Martin Young vigorously by the shoulders and shake him from his stupor, not in anger, but in a kind of evangelical fervour. He would drag him before a mural in the nave at St Mary’s that depicts a cross-section of a London fennel bulb, and point out a small section in the labyrinth named “the alleyway of lust”. “Do you SEE that, boy?” he would bellow. “There’s where you are.” [read more...]

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Oct 172013
 
Paddington Chews It Off

Paddington Chews It Off by Matt Haynes
Paddington gazed dejectedly at the menu. Years ago, he’d persuaded them to add marmalade sandwiches, but they’d used “artisan bread” with the texture of damp compacted sawdust, and the marmalade hadn’t been marmalade at all, but something they’d called orange coulis – and THEN they’d had the temerity to charge him £5.95. He’d hidden it under his hat, telling them he’d save it for an emergency, and not mentioned the subject again. [read more...]

Oct 032013
 
Lit by Fury

by Sean Longden
Outside, it betrays its origins as the Regal Cinema, a stark, plain and grimy object from an era when people uttered the words “shopping precinct” as if such a thing were the height of sophistication, and thought nothing of stripping the old Palladium Picture Playhouse of its Edwardian façade. Inside, leather-jacketed goth girls in fishnets are selling fanzines. Carpets are sticky with beer. The crowd is a mass packed so tight it threatens to burst the walls. [read more...]

Sep 082013
 
Rodent Rovings

by Jess Sully
“Nah – they’re docile,” he replied, and proved this by bending and twisting the ferret into strange shapes. It was as if he was trying to create a balloon animal. The sight of a ferret being manipulated would, in itself, have been enough excitement for me, but then the owner’s young daughter insisted on showing me her party piece. She opened her mouth and the ferret put its head in, a modest variation of the head-in-lion’s-mouth circus trick. [read more...]