The High Life

We are the attic people

of East Dulwich

We live in the roofs, gables

and loft conversions

of the old Victorian houses

in the spaces previously

occupied

by scullery maids

and bats.

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Crystal Palace Rd

Planes whistle low over the austere Victorian housefronts and gables of Dulwich, somewhere up in the thick grey cloud cover of a balmy Summer night.

I pass tall, square, three storey town houses. The ones which have kept their integrity as homes have well-kept paintwork; jam-packed bookshelves and stylish light fixtures visible through ground floor bay windows.

The ones which have been divvied up into flats are drabber, less preserved. Off-white net curtains guard the privacy of tenants in living rooms-cum bedrooms, the tenants who are summoned separately by the different bells lining the front door.

Among these homes are private flats that used to be public shopfronts;  bouji gastro pubs that used to be east end boozers.

Start of a Story / Chris Pt. 1

When Chris came round, the first sensations that he felt were a damp coolness across his broad, shoulder muscles, and a violent heat across his chest and abdomen. He then came to realize that sunlight was burning red through the lids of his closed eyes, and he could hear the lapping of waves from somewhere close by. It all felt very tranquil, very womblike. But then the thought crossed his mind that he should not be sensing any of this: he should be under cool, airless aircon, hearing nothing but the reassuring, uninterrupted hum of engines and the occasional gentle beep of the fasten seatbelt sign. Something was wrong. That word clocked in his head like a coin in a slot that causes a machine to spring into automation: he opened his eye and sprung into an upright position, and was shocked just as much by the sight before him as he was by the pain that shot down his spine.

Before him, was two or three metres of white grey sandy beach, and beyond that nothing but a vast expanse of ocean that went from turquoise to chrome grey right out to the horizon. What. The. Fuck. Each word appeared in his mind, bold and underlined, just like that.

“So you’re up then?” A voice croaked, wryly amused, just to his left.