Houses were first built at the southern end of Coltman Street in the 1840s. The grand houses at the northern end were completed around 1905 and accommodated affluent middle class merchant and fishing industry families. By November 1980, after the Cod Wars of the 1960s and 1970s and decline in shipping, the northern end has slipped into multiple occupation and dereliction. Travellers’ horses are tethered on a patch of wasteland where north and south of the street converge.Continue reading
On Saturday April 28th 1986, the number 4 reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power station suffers a massive steam explosion. The reactor core is exposed and vast amounts of airborne radioactive contamination are released. It’s finally contained on May 4th. At first the Soviet Union attempts to conceal the disaster. Facts are scarce and barely believable.Continue reading
Ryker never allows the use of his forenames or the title of Mr; that would take up too much time. At school they called him Road Runner and beep-beeped each time he passed. In middle age he’s trying very hard to avoid endlessly repeating to himself: time and tide wait for no man, and, I’m late, I’m late for a very important date as he rushes hither and thither. Self-service in a restaurant is the only way he can cope with eating out. He does his weekly supermarket shop after midnight using self-scan to avoid queues. Someone once told him he should be a time and motion analyst. What an absurd idea, he thought, Watching others going slowly, no thank you!Continue reading
Henry Falworth goes to the Central Cinema every Saturday, paid for from his paper-round earnings. This Saturday, in 1954, he sees ‘The Black Shield of Falworth’ starring Tony Curtis as Myles. He’s so excited: how could there be a big Technicolor film with his name in the title? He leaves the cinema, as usual, in a state of euphoria. What is different is that though he knows he isn’t Myles, as he’s only eight years old, he, like Myles, has to stop the baddies.
Blanche is thirteen years old, an albino, and tall for her age, but not as tall as her mother, Eugenie, who is a high-wire walker in the circus where they live and work. Blanche’s eyes are ice blue in an unblemished white face. Her circus costume is a black and red spotted leotard, crimson tights and red Dock Marten lace-up boots. Her hair is pure white, silky, heavy, and hangs to the back of her knees. She wants to wear black lipstick, black mascara and eye shadow to make the most of her natural attributes and look like a Goth. Eugenie will not, under any circumstances, allow this. We’re artistes, darling, not freaks, she tells her daughter.Continue reading