Deviation Street is delighted to be presenting in a serialised format (Every Sunday, just like The Archers, only far far better ) THE STRAIGHT ROAD A Bastard Modern Fairytale of London by Band Of Holy Joy founder and frontman Johny Brown.
Episode 1. January – March
In a certain borough there lived an oversized Patriarch. This man had two offspring and life was comfortable if somewhat dull. The father was killed and the daughter distraught. David as brother did his best to console the sister Susan. Susan could see no hope for the future. Life is sad, David said softly. If I were you I would pray to God, and maybe things might, well, work out.
After thinking on the matter awhile, he put it to her that they should use whatever inheritance was coming and move to another borough where he would rent a shop and set up some kind of a business. Maybe the shop would have a flat above it where she could tend home whilst he worked the counter below. If they stayed where they were things would go bad.
Susan nodded her assent. She adored her big brother. David would be the new Patriarch in her life. The time spent in the flat could also be devoted to prayer. For since David had suggested the practice she had taken a fancy to quiet devotion towards meditative time spent alone and was busy developing a feeling of subjective sincerity she had never realised before.
Her brother was obstinate in his sensitivities and quite bullish in his fragility and these testaments of faith were further inspiration towards her shift to spirituality. David was so light and considered, but so resolute in everything he did in this life. He was the most intelligent and sensitive person she had met in this life to date. She could find no one to compare.
Susan wanted to live up to the mark that David set and prove that she too could be of angelic disposition and saintly nerve, she wanted to shine in her own dark and shine even brighter in other shadows. Susan wanted to be all the things her brother was. Beyond that, what she really wanted in this life was to have her own passion, something she could truly call her own.
Susan always held a lot of insular feelings she could barely articulate but really wanted to express. There were a lot of negative things that she found anathema to her life but never had the courage to reject. Maybe this sudden shift of father dying and them looking for a new place to live might be the catalyst to shift the bad for the better and push her in the right direction.
As things turned out they moved not just to another borough, but shifted to a different metropolis entirely. They found the perfect retail unit / living combination in just the safest most bustling location, and the brother busied himself around the doors and bars and café’s and that. Being of a lively disposition he soon found his feet in this new city they had landed in.
Oh the city of London on first impression. Towers of glass and steel, all absurd shapes and abstruse angles designed to amaze the mind as surely as its coffee shops serve to put a rush in the blood that courses through the veins to set the head beating like boom, boom, boom, the sheer scale designed to put a tingle in your tummy and fair take your breath away.
The London of shiny billboards on new constructions that promised creative flexible workspace and a better place to be, and assured the new owner they would be a part of it all. This was where they had landed and this was where they set out to make a new life. David quietly informed Susan they would strive to establish themselves well in this new city.
Sure, there were a few grim weeks selling fake furs and cheap nylons in a street market on one of the more lower end streets, but within time David had enough things going on to purchase some fine cloth and open up shop properly. He paid attention to the décor, developed a unique retail philosophy and was smart enough to bring someone in on the digital side.
All of these things combined added to a fairly prosperous start. The daytimes were easy and the nightlife was good. David was starting to relax a bit. Granted he sometimes got tetchy with the local taxi drivers because of how they would try to nudge his bicycle off the road, but who didn’t have hassles with those uncivilised old world stone age red top kind of people?
All cities were still full of unleavened hangovers from more ancient eras, and their outlooks and principles weren’t always up to speed, stuck as they were in more unenlightened times, with all the bad practice that came with it. He accepted that. David took it as a sometimes painful but always necessary fact of life that one had to work and live alongside such types.
He felt for them in fact, they being victims of someone else’s drama, who were being crushed on the wheel of life, or who had fallen off it. Immigrants to this city too, he could see, drew instant short straws and lived lives ten to a bed in hastily thrown up garden sheds in some of the more godforsaken suburbs, exploited to the point of slavery and worse.