This is the street and these are the people, lift the roof and what do you see ?
Two rows of houses, joined together, ninety eight houses in all.
Terraces, like a hundred, a thousand other streets, might not even be a real street, not even real houses, not even real stories.
This might be fictions, factions, documentary.
This might be about your street, might even be about my street, no street anywhere at all,
Let’s walk down it, terraced houses, two and three bed roomed, it depends where you get your bathroom and the swankier ones, the ones at the better end, the three story/storey ones, the ones with hall ways and bigger gardens, the ones that feel just a little superior to those in the middle and infinitely superior to those at the bed end, the rough end of the street.
Don’t be fooled, this isn’t one street, one community,one set of storeys/stories, there is a lot more going on.
The far end of the street is the best end, near to the bakery, the tiny greengrocer and the nicer corner shop.
These are the houses with the carefully tended front gardens, terracotta pots, plum coloured gravel, farrow and ball slate grey and sage green front doors. These are the houses that have interesting blinds, bird feeders ( and the seeds get changed every day) and on Fridays the organic box company deliver to every other house at the better end of this street .
And then there is the middle, not near anything really, but more likely to get a parking space, not a thing to be mocked in a street where skills in parallel parking are simple survival, unless of course you live at the better end and travel on a cream coloured Vespa or a reproduction vintage cycle, all basket work and leather handle grips.
The middle has few families, mostly singletons one foot on the property ladder or and they are bitter, plant bitter herbs,park badly and don’t invite colleagues for wine or tea, the newly singletons, who with one bad decision, one tiny error, one solicitor not on the ball, have found themselves toppling off the property ladder, found the ladder turning into a snake and can find little comfort from reminding themselves that at least they don’t live at the bed end of the street.
The bad end, nearest to the nasty corner shop, the one with empty shelves, brightly, unlikely coloured alcopops and a roaring trade in dodgy cheap cigarettes and the dodgy cheap people who smoke them congregate there, staring out at anyone from anywhere else, but especially from the better end of their own street.
The bad end features front gardens used as extensions of houses where big dogs and small children vie for space on leather sofas, corners ripped, chewed cushions that sit half in tiny front gardens and half on pavements.
The furniture dares you to walk past, the children and the dogs star and the men smoke dodgy cheap fags and drink dodgy cheap lager and gather in groups around dodgy cheap cars.
Starter motors hit with hammers and always a fag on in the corner of their mouths and mobile phones answered in voices that sound angry, even when, probably, they’re not.
It is the kind of street where many people don’t draw their curtains at night and you can walk, looking in, with no sense of apology or nosiness and at the bad end front doors are open until late at night, inviting your gaze and those better residents, their carefully pulled together living space, well, they want your attention, want you to notice that clever juxtaposition of vintage 70s GPlan and a rug they think is is an authentic Kelim from North Africa.
It isn’t by the way.
So, what are you expecting here?
Linked family sagas, holly oaks for the terraced generation, heart warming stories of community and growth. A novel with a geography and a touch of architecture at its centre…….
These are the storeys/stories of the vampire at no 84, the lady who killed herself at no 32, the self taught profiler at no 29 and the carpenter at no 17 who would look for love, if he had any idea where it might be hiding.
The cast includes an afghan hound trapped in the body of a French bulldog, the cats who know where the bodies are buried, the Muslim mother cooking food for children who stay out to late to eat and walk on parts from the man who can’t park, the neighbour who gave up eating, the woman who can’t throw anything away and more and more and more.