Walking up Kingsland High Road, Egon savoured the invigorating effects of his flat white. Hackney used to be one of London’s poorest areas, filled with immigrants and dwellings in need of repair. Now, looking at house and rent prices, this was hard to believe. Mingling with the multi-cultural crowd, Egon felt like a man of the world, glad to have moved away from his village in Shropshire where monoculture and monothinking had taken over even the more advanced human beings. Continue reading →
Even though it was already the end of March, the nights were cold and Egon wished his bedsit had central heating, but instead he turned on the gas oven as soon as he got up.
Munching on Weetabix he googled dog breeds and there she was – a Golden Retriever. All the dogs looked cute but none of them had the effervescent beauty of Gilda. Eager to find out more about the breed, he learned that Golden Retrievers are cheerful, trustworthy, demonstrative and forgiving – characteristics he had always hoped to find in a girlfriend. It also listed mouthiness, heavy shedding and distinctive doggy odour. Still, he reckoned, something he would put up with. Continue reading →
‘The past lies like a nightmare upon the present.’ (Karl Marx)
Still befuddled, Egon entered his studio flat, which really was the real-estate agency’s term for bedsit, on Graham Road. There always lingered a slight morbid and musty smell in these Victorian houses and Egon resented the fact that he kept looking at the same four walls.
Lying on his bed, he felt as if the walls were closing him on him, or maybe he’d just been here for too long, but as he didn’t pay rent he wasn’t complaining. After splitting up with his ex, he felt lucky not having to move back into a flat-share, which he thought was undignified at the age of 35, but unavoidable in London where being able to live on your own was considered a luxury. Continue reading →
Keeping an eye on Costa Coffee, Egon quickly took out his iPhone5, which he had found in a bar one night and managed to unlock. The light wasn’t great for photography but he didn’t intent to post the crime-scene pictures on Instagram anyway.
Poor dog, what an end to a life filled with adversity and struggle. He made a pledge there and then to find out who killed him, because in his mind there was no question that this had been a dogcide. A suspicion which was confirmed when he saw what looked like a stabbing wound on the dog’s right rib cage, very close to what must have been the heart, he figured.
The stern police-woman’s superior was leaving Costa, heading for them and Egon decided it was high time to disappear in the crowd. Continue reading →
This is the first episode of DALSTON NOIR, a weekly Noir-Hipster-Crime-Serial set in London Fields. To be continued. *
Meet Egon Schmuck, 37, Hobby-Detective and antihero, filled at times with existential angst (due to reading too many Kafka books when he was in a mentally vulnerable state) but mostly calm, currently unemployed. Thank God for the United Kingdom welfare state because with some housing benefit and the odd cash-in-hand jobs he survives and not badly. Looking smart in a street-wise way, his clothes are tailor made at Oxfam and he seldom walks away from the shop without a bargain in a precious green plastic bag which he likes to carry around as symbol of his hipster status. Egon doesn’t like to divulge the fact that he is unemployed and therefore tells everyone who wants to know (not many people do) that he is on a Zero-Hour-Contract. He calls himself a London native (though he was born in a little village in Shropshire), his roaming ground is London Fields, not Hipster Dalston as he likes to point out, a great place to watch the human condition pass by, filling him with existential thoughts as he sips his coffee on Broadway Market.
Episode #1: Trouble on Kingsland Road
Egon had just checked his bank account and wondered whether he could make it till the end of the month when his housing benefit would come in. Lost in anxious thoughts he walked down Balls Pond Road when his attention was drawn to a crowd of people. His anxiety dispersed in seconds as he realised that today was his lucky day as he had just happened upon a crime scene and elbowed his way into the crowd of ogling by-standers. Continue reading →
This is my gender-bending pictorial take on the delicious Les Liaisons Dangereuses, currently playing at the National Theatre in London.
I hope it inspires you to add your own flash fiction/images/songs/videos or autobiographical tale of seduction, revenge, love and betrayal in the comments section or by pasting a link to your story. And remember, you can always use a pseudonym 😉
Looking very much forward to reading your stories!
Winter carries the whiff of VapoRub, running noses, parkas, Disney-inspired, tinsel-heavy wonderlands (making you wonder a lot), not wanting to leave the house, man leggings, simmering family feuds surfacing over under-cooked Brussels sprouts, recycled Christmas gifts, optimistic diets and even more optimistic New Year plans, frostbite, reindeer jumpers, pretending Christmas is not happening by loudly singing Heatwave over schmaltzy Santa songs and always remembering that most things can be solved with a glass of mulled wine and chocolate coated gingerbread. Continue reading →
14 Stages of Developing the Malaise & How to Combat None of Them
But first of all, how do we attract this most alluring of possible mates?
Work non-stop for an extended period of time.
Make sure you take a combination of underground transport, where the air-shafts and sudden bursts of icy drafts send shivers down your spine.
Take your coat off as soon as you enter the stuffy, crowded, germ-infested carriage.
Work in a place which has air-conditioning so that getting used to an artificially induced cold in late October will make your system work overtime.
Ignore any signs your body sends out to slow down, cause really, it isn’t that bad.
Every time you’ve slept you will feel better until later when you don’t.
Take paracetamol and adopt the placebo-thinking that this will take care of your bodily malfunctions.
Prove to yourself that you are a hero and stronger than you think by going to work anyway. Then watch yourself falter.
What Not To Do Once the Amour Fou Has Overtaken Your Body, Mind and Soul:
Don’t walk into a 24-hour-Tesco without pharmacy with your hat pulled down halfyour face at 11 pm Friday night when the cashier is counting a stash of cash. Because by that time the throat pain is so bad that you croak at him in the hope of receiving pain killers in exchange, or any pill really.
Or A German In London *Warning: clichés and stereotypes abound
I first came to Britain on a class trip in 1992 and nothing prepared me for the melting pot that was and is London. Walking down the street, I couldn’t believe the sheer diversity of faces, nationalities, religions and cultures. This was G. E. Lessing’s dream of (religious) tolerance put into practice in everyday Britain in the late 20th century. Coming from a country where there was hardly any non-German soul living/working/studying/on benefits – this was extraordinary. Continue reading →
Now I cannot imagine how i was able to squeeze 40 hours of employment into my week. It wasn’t even that my job was particularly boring or hard or stressful, I had lovely colleagues and often a whole lot of fun. But I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. I wasn’t even sure what it was that I really wanted to, but I knew this wasn’t it. I only felt a part of me present and in demand and the others were slowly wilting away and getting number by the day. So after 4.5 years I called it quits and somehow surprised myself with that decision but while i was steadying myself for the life after I also knew it was the right and only thing to do.
I had been saving up, cutting down on holidays, circumventing bars, restaurants and clubs and instead tried to have as much free fun as possible. And the old adage that the best things in life are free was confirmed: meditation, yoga (online), seeing friends, talking, laughing, cycling, lying in the park cloud-gazing, reading – all came free of charge.
I wanted to find out how it would feel not to be accountable to anybody but myself and taking sole responsibility for my life, my time, my days, how and with whom to spend them. Make all decisions myself and risking of not having anyone but myself to blame in case it would go haywire. With that came entering uncertainty, non-employment, knowing that my savings would run out and because London is London, that this would happen rather sooner than later. Not having the next job lined up or a wealthy auntie about to pass away – and be okay with that.
What’s more, doing all this without having anything or anyone to fall back on, neither family nor partner, but doing it under my own steam without safety net. Scary and exhilarating at the same time. What if I got depressed, just stayed in bed? Without anybody needing me to be anywhere at any time this was definitely a possibility. Without any of the artificial structures holding me together, would I have enough self-initiative and motivation to get up just for my own sake?