West

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...]

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...]

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...]

Jun 262013
 
Let's All Meet Up In The Year 2000

Let’s All Meet Up In The Year 2000 by Rachel Stevenson
He plays Smokey Robinson and The Shirelles and Dressy Bessy and I lie on the sofa bed in the living room and have paracetamol and chocolate biscuits for my breakfast, until he starts to indicate that he wants me to leave. I walk down on my own in the rain to Notting Hill, feeling ill and sorry for myself. The sky is the colour of a dirty duvet and the trees are broken umbrellas that don’t keep the drizzle off. [read more...]

Apr 092013
 
It Grows On You, Like A Rash

by Jess Sully
A known introvert from a town with wide skies and a vast, shimmering expanse of sea, I didn’t think I’d be happy among the hemmed-in crowds. What I didn’t realise then is that within the anonymity of the ever-flowing throng, those shoals of fast-moving fish who swoop and turn as one entity, I could move silently, unobtrusive and unremarkable. And now I know, too, that sometimes at low tide the Thames smells of brine and seaweed. [read more...]

Mar 012013
 
In Brompton Cemetery

by Andrzej Ryan
Here in Brompton Cemetery, there are signs which forbid off-path wandering. Brompton is neat and tidy and intends to stay that way. But a waterproof-wearing rebel is creeping amongst the stones; bearded and bespectacled, he is carefully taking rubbings from the headstones. There are dog-walkers, cyclists and a pair of old men having a row. Two young women walk purposefully down a side path. [read more...]

Sep 142012
 
The Six-Lane Spectre

by Julian Ridgway
It was a motorway. Or was once meant to be. One that would have stretched from the river to the M1, and then round a whole city-manacling circuit of similar pre-cast gaugings. The London Motorway Box. A high-flying lap of the city, with slip roads. This particular piece would have flown or carved through much of West London, even leaping over the Earl’s Court exhibition halls. I emitted a tender gasp of Brutalist desire. [read more...]

Jul 162012
 
The Muted Trumpet

by Matt Haynes
Whenever the need to fondle something long and wrinkly grew too much to bear – which, after the death of her beloved Albert, was at least twice a week – lucky old Queen Victoria seldom found herself frustrated in the way of ordinary women, for one of the perks of being Empress Of All The Pink Bits was a plentiful supply of pachyderms, gifts from foreign potentates to whom such beasts were, frankly, little more than garden pests. [read more...]