It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to write a novel about the people living on a typical 21st-century London street. Unfortunately, John Lanchester beat me to it. No great surprise, since anything at the back of my mind is invariably sat in a swamp of inertia, like the dirt behind the fridge or those pictures that never get hung on the wall. Kids happen. Novels don't. So I can hardly be cross that someone else had the same idea as me, poured themselves a coffee, sat at a desk, turned on their computer, opened a blank Word document, typed out a story and got it published. Especially as they did such a mighty fine job of it. Capital is a rollicking read, full of well-drawn characters who are in turn funny and poignant, likeable and unlikeable, rich and poor. They are either foreign to, adopted by, or born and bred in that magnificent melting pot of cultures that make London so special - and so frustrating.
|A typical London street?|
|We want what you have?|
|I have been known to go round photographing London doors and windows|
But the postcards may be wreaking havoc with the property prices (currently spiralling upwards literally in front of our eyes as the months go by). And Roger's upstart junior has also hacked into the bank's systems and is doing some dodgy trading which can only lead to crash. Crash and burn.
|Clapham Old Town, where I rented a room for half my salary|
|Clapham High Street|
There is drone footage of familiar South London suburbs - Clapham, Wandsworth, Balham, Streatham - and their avenues of plane trees, their commons and lidos. There is a double decker bus on Tooting Broadway, an MRI scan at St George's Hospital. There are ice creams in Battersea Park, near the Peace Pagoda and Albert Bridge. And a Merry Christmas wished between strangers on the greenest Clapham Common I have ever seen in the depths of winter. with the trees in full foliage. That's global warming for you.
|Clapham Common in full foliage|