When you walk
London, you walk across someone’s story as
you make your own narrative trail. Any journey across it a collision with thousand
temporal echoes. You cannot help it. You brush up against the imagery that has escaped
from the novel of another’s life and has colonised the streets. The city is
just layers of story.
Some of the stories maintain their narrative cohesion long after their writer’s death. Become shades, become spirits. Anecdotes with an afterlife. Stories that will not be lost in the static of stuttering traffic. Stories strong enough to walk the streets and clatter into us.
I traffic with these spirits. Walk to engage with the mythic life of the city. Venture on their territory. Drift in the sodium hours, feeling the ghost texture of midnight
London. Words my way of mapping it, giving it
a form I can export from the liminal territories of the night and into the day.
As you map, you discover there are parts of the city where the stories are so dense they develop gravity pulling other narratives into their orbit. Stories collapsing down like the event horizons of broken stars. Places that act as candle spirit traps, drawing the moths that burn themselves on its flame. Terrain that demands words to let you cross it. You either write these places or they possess you.
Tonight I am full of the ghosts of
Soho. Drunk on history. My city living in me,
living through me. Writing is exorcism, but tonight I do not want this
possession to end.