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South West

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…]

Jul 312013
 
Stepping Across The Thames

by Matt Haynes
Out here, the river’s still allowed to undo its buttons twice a day and slob out across the mud with primordial glee. For one of the Thames’s more discombobulating quirks is that it’s wider upstream than down, where it’s been artificially banked and trammelled – no one paddles on the beach outside Lambeth Palace any more, not since Mr Bazalgette’s embankments went up in the 1860s and the Archbishop lost his deckchair concession. [read more…]

Jul 152013
 

“Is this London?” she pouts, pressing a chocolatey face to the tagged and leaking window as their train waits at Worcester Park. “Daddy, when is it going to be London?”

Jul 032013
 
Speed Dating in Surbiton

by Sno Flo
Rugged men with frost-nibbled beards were hugging pints and staring at us as if we were quarry shipped in from the Far East to replace local female stock escaped to parts less chilly and depressing, like Kingston. I ordered two rum and cokes, and asked myself the question every speed dater sporting two X chromosomes must: why were we bothering to pay fifteen smackers to meet men when there were so many free ones lying about? [read more…]

Mar 042013
 
Hell Is Other People's Laptops

Hell Is Other People’s Laptops by Dale Lately
You try to picture yourself bedding down here for the night. You imagine making a bit of conversation with the other guy, trying to overcome the intimacy of undressing in front of one another, of negotiating when you’ll switch the lights off and go to sleep. Or maybe he’ll continue all night with his laptop and speed metal. The light in here is either the flat bulb or darkness. You feel a sort of lurch of misery and homesickness, or just sickness. [read more…]

Nov 262012
 

At Clapham North he pulls a knob of root ginger from his bag and, with eyes cast down, rubs its surface tenderly; perhaps, I think, it’s his lucky magic ginger.