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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005
    Still Smoking
    Lovely to take delivery of a magazine with a self-penned compliment slip from the editor inside. Lovely to see the latest issue of Smoke: a London Peculiar, which evidently was at press when the terrible events of a fortnight ago took place, as there's not a hint of them within.

    And that's fitting because Smoke is happily out-of-kilter with headline-London. Co-editor Jude Rogers writes that:

    London often goes on without me. My London becomes this laptop, humming away on a wonky table in Clapton, and the noises behind me: the whoosh of double-deckers, the clatter of the 38, the whip-whur of sirens, the odd brawl on the pavement, the shouty slang of teenage girls, the crowds milling outside the fried chicken huts.

    It's brilliantly reassuring to be reminded that these minutae of city life continue, despite recent disruptions. And as ever it's lovely to read about many more details of capital life: the 82-year-old barber of St James's, a naked Dalston flat-dweller, London's Masonic underground, richly varied curios in the debris under Chelsea Bridge. This is not headline stuff. But it's lovely writing which displays a love of place. Which makes it special, to me.