The urban village. A Jane Austen vision of pastoral Britain complete with farmers’ markets and bunting projected on to high streets up and down the country. Oblivious to the green beacon of the job centre; impervious to the homeless man asleep in the shop doorway; pro-bike, anti-lorry; in short, a regression. A total refusal on behalf of those involved to accept the functional requirements of cities under the duress of population growth.
Flatland is a social satire by Edwin Abbott Abbott, published in 1884. The book describes a world of only two dimensions, in which each character is a different class of geometric shape, and is narrated by a pseudonymous ‘Square’. One day, the Square is visited by a Sphere from Spaceland, a world that has three dimensions.
A decade after first watching Dazed and Confused, I still find myself trawling through rails in vintage shops with only the costumes of the cast in mind. And as soon as I spot an item that even slightly resembles something one of them might wear, I hear Steven Tyler’s voice in my head, singing loud and clear: “Sweeeeeeeeeeet emmooooooooootioooon”.
Father When she is born, she is four pounds and see-through, and I am terrified. My wife’s vagina is smeared over 50 towels on the floor, and she is shaking. Across the room, our daughter guppies silently in a Perspex box, purple and writhing like a baby bird. A wall of strangers are wrangling her tiny body into life.
Walter loved football from his very first touch, on that dusty path outside his house, where he played under the shadows of the coconut palms. He was born, rather unusually, with both of his ankles made out of crystal but his mother and father loved him nonetheless.
It wasn’t a Suzuki GSX-R750 – the bike I’d always wanted – that would come later. It was a Suzuki GSX-R600 – near enough, certainly for me, who’d never ridden anything faster than a Lambretta. I’d always had Lambrettas: GPs, Yorkshire style, no Moddy crap – race-tuned, stripped-down, 85 mph – fast for a scooter.
My name is Tom and I have a job as a radio presenter for BBC 6 Music. It’s a pretty nice gig in that my week consists mainly of bombarding my head with a variety of terrible, unfortunate, occasionally magnificent and often confusing music. A combination of going through lot of records people have kindly sent, and shopping until I drop for new and interesting things in the stores around London.
In the lunch break of a soul-sapping temp job, I typed my own name into a search engine. Travelling back a few pages into the sticky ‘ooooo’ of Google, I found a review someone had written of a film I had acted in when I was a child. I was struck by the author’s tone.