Just spent a few days in London, reminding myself why I like the city so much. Of course there are the usual tourist things, the theatre and art galleries, the major sights. We went to see The Magistrate at the National, and it was a very enjoyable evening, a bit like a panto. But it’s not that, although the cultural life was the reason I moved to London. I think the attraction for me is the energy that so many people hurrying around seem to engender. There is always the possibility of some suprise, of changes occuring that create a new experience. The Shard glittering in rain, a new art gallery, an extension of the Serpentine Gallery, being built in Hyde Park. It’s still wrapped in its plastic sheeting so its shape is a secret but the architect is Zaha Hadid, so it should be an exciting addition to the landscape. I came across a class for nervous cyclist (or even teaching those who can’t) in Little Wormwood Scrubs Park. I watched an elderly woman on a three wheeler set off cautiosly round the park, and two girls who said they hadn’t ridden bikes for years racing round. That’s another new addition to the street scene, the blue rows of ‘Boris’ bikes. These are the sort of places and events I need to keep my novels up to date.
I’ve also discovered a pedestrian route under the Westway which would make a great setting for a crimestory. It runs between a number of sports facilities, a sand ring with two disconsolate looking ponies, empty fives courts, a climbing frame and a sculpture that looks like a set of coloured pencils bent in peculiar shapes. Next time I go I must take a camera and photograph the route.
The photograph is the set for The Magistrate from the back of the circle.
Does anyone have any other ways of keeping the locus of their novels real.