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Posts from the ‘Stories’ Category

London, Orbital (10)

September 11, 2012

theenglishholidayclub

South Kenton tucks neatly into the nook below Harrow-on-the-Hill. An adopted abode for young pariahs driving BMWs that don’t belong up the road. Immaculate lawns punctuated by wiry, unkempt roses threaten to impose their mangled, thorny reality on the suburban dream. They should have gone for petunias or begonias. Hardy perennials.

Winding streets are paved with mottled concrete slabs. Knotweed and oak roots peek through the cracks demanding attention. Proof of life. This is the final chapter of our walk. 12 times in the past 44 weeks my week-weary mind has contemplated the far-flung corners of the Capital but this time it will end. We keep moving forwards.

Life on Gotfords Hill is much slower. We fall in behind a trio battling against the howling wind in front of us. The exposed spot is home to an abundance of sloes, steadily plumping themselves up in expectation of being imminently plucked. They’re not quite ready yet so we move on, geolocating a mental note to self to return with a party set on gathering the ingredients for gin.

A sudden downpour and a rest at a bus stop somewhere on the border of the London borough of Brent. As we cross the divide the finely kempt perimeters give way to a blur of shaggy weeds and an impermeable roadside detritus that has become the fabric of the place; the coloured stripes of unfamiliar brands of lager that no-one living or dead could identify, bleached wrappers of bygone chocolate bars, scratched and opaque plastic bottles – texture that will permeate for all time.

Out alongside the reservoir in the Welsh Harp Open Space, slugs and snails hurtle along the concrete highway, buoyed by the recent rainfall. We step gently, eyes downward, minimal depth of field. Cautious.

At the bridge the road narrows, pavement-less and only wide enough for one stream of traffic. We press the button and a rat scrambles up the bank, thrusting himself into the light to see how many people are waiting to cross.

“Three, and one motorbike,” he notes, before scurrying back under the bridge, presumably to don his hat and uniform and operate the necessary levers to facilitate our passing. A green man. Momentum builds.

The sounds of aggrieved motorists abound, announcing the arrival of the M1 before it is even visible. London’s core artery is clogged with congestion. I bite into a plum while staring down at this metallic sea. Menacing eyes glare back, confirmation there is still a desire to travel. London seems to not have all the answers.

Hawthorn and blackberries and nettles and other unidentified fruits line the narrow gap of a path over the railway line. A family with young children are eating ice-creams waving at train drivers and we join in. Drivers beep and wave at us, smiling. Trains are, definitively, better than cars. Hendon awaits.

The act of labour

August 31, 2012

theenglishholidayclub

We had some visitors in the office from Oslo the other day.

“Anyone can shoot a good looking film these days. But you need a good story to make it a good film, and you could have shot that using your iPhone.”

SO TRUE.

Majestic Trees

June 24, 2012

theenglishholidayclub

Image

Ever looked at a tree and thought of the stories it could tell if it spoke? I can’t walk past an old tree without thinking how awesome and majestic they look, so I’ve set up a tag on my new photostream to capture all these photos in an album, Majestic Trees.

http://annehol.tumblr.com/tagged/majestic-trees

Paper Science 7

January 30, 2012

theenglishholidayclub

The latest (and last in the current run) issue of Paper Science hit the online shop today.

For a paltry £3, 16 pages of colour comics can be yours, including the latest one-pager from Tom and I. Tom has a lovely sneak-peek of the comic over on his blog.

See more on the preview from publishers, WAW+P here.

Photo by Matthew Sheret | Cover image by Adam Cadwell.

A year ago today

January 26, 2012

theenglishholidayclub

A year ago today Tom Humberstone and I published the first of our Drawing the Line series on the student protests in London, over at Cartoon Movement.

Lots of other things were happening in the world at that point and while the rest of the world was aiming high, we started by just wanting provide a few alternative perspectives on a story that had barely begun to unfold.

As far as personal goals go, 2011 was my year of doing more and being better. With that project Tom and I had more than doubled our previous output together and we’d started the year with a bang. A year later I’m still hugely proud of that body of work.

 

 

 

The fake house

January 25, 2012

theenglishholidayclub

I pass by the corner house most days. It slots neatly into a gap it appears to have been custom made for. The bricks are newer, the window paint is not peeling off, the bell is new and the pathway undisturbed by weeds.

“I like that house,” I declare as we stroll along the road one morning.

“It’s a fake house,” he says.

He goes on to profusely deny its potential to be a real house. It must be a facade, it must be uninhabited, the neighbours must have been fed up of people creeping along the alleyway between their houses that they clubbed together and built it. This is preposterous, I argue but it is no use. His mind is made up.

—–

It is dark when I return from work. The winding streets are filled with leaves that don’t so much crunch underfoot as crease unwillingly. Lubricated by the damp fog lingering in the air they are an unruly opponent, taking the streets for themselves. Through the darkness I see a faint light illuminating the fake house from the inside. A body is silhouetted against the window.

“There’s someone in the fake house, it’s real!” I text

“It’s a puppet” comes the response.

—–

From across the street a light is triggered by a motion sensor. A door slams. A man has emerged from the fake house. I make a mental note to tell him that a remarkably life like puppet is wandering freely around North London.

I retrace my steps the following evening and my brain kicks into gear. I call him to regale him of the tale of the wandering puppet but he outright refuses to believe me. A learned scholar of the Monty Python school I know he is trying me but I cannot refuse the bait. I protest vociferously.

A door slams. Another man has emerged from the fake house.

“Just a minute,” I whisper, running across the street without stopping to look for cars, cats or bicycles. Luckily I have no unscheduled meetings with anything of the sort.

“Excuse me,” I yell. “Excuse me.”

The man from the fake house turns, bewildered, to face me.

“Did you just come from the corner house?”

“Yes,” he ventures cautiously.

“My boyfriend thinks it’s a fake house.” I declare accusingly.

The man from the fake house laughs nervously eyeing me up and down.”We get that a lot,” he says eventually. Evidently I have passed his security vetting procedure.

“Yeah he doesn’t believe it’s real. He thinks the neighbours built it to block up a dingy back alley but I said that didn’t make any sense because the building goes back too far and who’d make a building that could be a house and not make it a house? That’s just nonsense because you could earn a fortune from the rent couldn’t you and you’d take that rather than risk burglars wouldn’t you and besides I’ve seen lights on and everything.”

“Er… Yes. It’s real. We do live there. I live on the first floor actually. It’s a bit small at the front but it really widens out at the back and we’ve got an awesome garden – you can’t see that of course but it goes right back. It’s great.”

“Well that’s great,” I say. There isn’t much more to say.

“Thanks,” the man from the fake house says.

“Well done.” I say.

The man from the fake house turns. I watch him walk away before returning my phone to my ear.

“Did you hear that?” I whisper.

“I cannot believe you did that,” is all I hear, amongst the guffaws before his train disappears into a tunnel.