David Lodge on bullet holes in Brockley

The novelist David Lodge (born 1935) grew up in Brockley, living at 81 Millmark Grove from 1936 to 1959. He went to St Mary Magdelen Roman Catholic primary school in Brockley, and walking home from school during the Second World War he had a narrow escape:'One afternoon we were a few hundred yards from the ...

Ishiguro in Sydenham

There was an article in the Guardian last week about the author Kazuo Ishiguro in which he recalled writing his 1989 novel The Remains of the Day (later filmed starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson) while living in Sydenham.   Kazuo Ishiguro: how I wrote The Remains of the Day 'I was then 32 years old, and we’d ...

Ian McEwan – ‘the boundless shabby tangle of London south of the river’

I enjoyed Ian McEwan's latest novel, The Children Act (2014), continuing his close observations of the life of the higher reaches of the urban middle class. While Saturday (2005) was centred around a neuro-surgeon living in Fitzrovia, this book's central character is a judge living not too far away in Gray's Inn.If McEwan is a ...

South London marches on Westminster – John Henry Mackay on the World Metropolis in 1880s

John Henry Mackay (1864-1933) was a Scottish-born, German-raised individualist anarchist. His novel, 'The Anarchists: A Picture of Civilization at the Close of the Nineteenth Century' was written in German and published in English translation by Benjamin Tucker in Boston in 1891.The novel draws on the author's time in London in 1887, and includes some great ...

Virginia Woolf – A Dog’s view of London (& Robert Browning of New Cross)

One of Virginia Woolf's lesser known works is Flush (1933), a biography of Eizabeth Barrett's spaniel. It's partly a whimsical parody of Victorian biography, but it does include a dog's eye (or rather dog's nose) perspective of London:'For the first time he heard his nails click upon the hard paving stones of London. For the ...

Music Monday: Coil – Lost Rivers of London

An oldie from 1996, one of the great evocative London pyschogeographical tracks from Coil (RIP Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson and John Balance). With the exception of the opening and closing 'drown myself' lines, the words come from  Hubert Montague Crackanthorpe's Vignettes (1896), actually from several pieces in that short book.'I'm gonna drown myself in London's lost ...

Shadows from Norwood

Author David Hambling has transplanted HP Lovecraft's horror mythos from New England to SE19 in his collection  'Shadows from Norwood'. The seven stories features local landmarks including the Crystal Palace ('The Monsters in the Park') and the underground River Effra ('Two Fingers'). Inevitably there's a story called the Dulwich Horror of 1927 ('The Dunwich Horror' ...

London: City of Resurrections and other Machen wisdom

You can never have too many London quotes by Arthur Machen (1863-1947), he had a great appreciation for the mysteries to be found in wandering the streets of the city. Here's a few favourites:'Villiers had emerged from his restaurant after an excellent dinner of many courses, assisted by an ingratiating little flask of Chianti, and, in that frame ...

Iain Banks and the Battle of Lewisham

Sad to hear that the Scottish writer Iain Banks is very seriously ill with gall bladder cancer. Banks has written some great books including The Wasp Factory, The Crow Road, the Culture series of science fiction novels (published under the name Iain M. Banks) and a fine appreciation of whisky 'Raw Spirit: in search of ...

Kate Tempest wins Ted Hughes prize

Well done Kate Tempest for winning the Ted Hughes award for innovation in poetry last night. The prize was awarded to her by Carol Ann Duffy in a ceremony at the Saville Club.The award was in recognition of her work Brand New Ancients, which relocates old gods to modern London. Brand New Ancients was co-commissioned ...