I came here by the unusual fast train which only runs on special days, and only carries people who know about it. We are propelled above the streets of Peckham and Camberwell feeling decadent for a few minutes. It is a Bank Holiday tomorrow, so coming here today feels imbibed with the spirit of carnival. I’m tempted to think about living in West London next. There are guardianship properties abounding, schools, other places. Inner west is sophisticated but gritty enough for me. Fulham, Kensington, Earls Court, the Talgarth Road, all beautiful, elegant sturdy late Victorian bone structure. I still find it strange to think of South Kensington in Man About The House, a down at heel neighbourhood where young people come to London seeking thrills share cheap flats and practise being louche. I’d like to become louche in my fifties, along with living in a compact space actually in the city. I’ll apply for the job at the new theatre, downsize to a compact space next year, make photography work, finish all the film work, read books, live a louche life. Sell books, too.
Speaking of Earls Court, I’ve just finished reading Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton. The ending was disappointing. The protagonist, George, committed suicide in Maidenhead. I had really hoped he would somehow win in the end, by some bizarre fluke. He did manage to murder two people very efficiently a few pages earlier, and got confused by barrage balloons, thinking they were giant gnats, just outside this very railway station actually. I’d like there to be an aftermath, or a sequel, even, telling what happened next. Who found the bodies – that was Mickey, wasn’t it? Who was that young man in the street? There are so many other perspectives, other angles of the same story. Hamilton actually used the parallel story device in Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky. Perhaps he wanted to do the same with George Bone’s schizophrenic murders, or perhaps the transient anonymity is what he wanted to show us; people who pass fleetingly and don’t matter, or even leave a mark on the memory. I think Earls Court and these parts of West London have always been like that. I started reading a novel years ago about a young couple with little money who used to meet at the old BOAC airline terminal on the Cromwell Road, because that’s all they could afford to do. I wish I could remember the title. Tony Hancock ended up there in his last series, but we never were told how he got there from suburban East Cheam. I liked his flat, with it’s tiny kitchen.
For a while in the eighties it was full of Australians selling VW camper vans. An innocent time.