Thursday, 4 August 2011

A Novel Idea (2) - The Setting

The setting for the aforementioned novel...

@TajinderZahman is free in Nuevo London!

Nuevo London! Oh, sweet, sweet city of spice and sugar! Lead me through your scented alleyways, that I might find gold, or love, or adventure here tonight.

Nuevo London, cultural centre of a very new European jewel. Watch umbrella'd businessmen weave between raindrops on the steaming pathways through Nine Elms. Count the cobblestones between the olde English theatres in Earl's Court. Drink sweet mint tea and listen to the white boys jam in the Brompton Underworld.

Nuevo London, cheerful home of waving squat minarets and ceremonial juniper smoke that drifts over the churning River Thames. Stroll amongst the densely-layered cherry trees as the scores of oil-haired delivery workers lounge in the evening sunshine and drink their Indian mulberry wine. Stir pots of boiling crabs on rugged concrete street corners as the old Islamic men across the way chant at sun-up and sunset. Hear the assembled brethren as they kneel as one before the wall. Takbir! Takbir! Allhu Akbar!

Nuevo London, phoenix from the sodden ashes, home to half-a-million twinkling lights in homes, offices and boudoirs. See the cathedrals, the clubs, the spires that reach to the cloud line. Bathe in the architecture, then grab shatkora bhajis and guanaco steaks fresh from the pan and eat them with burned, greasy fingers as you ride the tram to the hashish bars in Lavender Hill.

Nuevo London, with its rows of climbing apple and pear souks where you can sample raisin couscous from the tagine. Grab handfuls of vivid pink peppercorns from wicker baskets below wires of blood-red chillis and fist-sized knots of indigo garlic. Watch the wary-eyed, knarled women kneading bread and threading beads on catgut string. Buy handmade silk scarves and saris of every colour of the rainbow.

Nuevo London, with girls from every corner of the globe and some yet unexplored, tall like string beans, squat and large-breasted. Study the chequered maps of their hued and pampered skins. Breathe them in as they sashay past you, bearing intoxicating perfumes, their laughter as precious as saffron and as untameable as the wildest of wild orchids.

Nuevo London, they sing in the starry sky above the glittering floating docks of Brotherhood Wharf. In the darkness between the sacred streams, the Eagles stamp their feet and watch you with unblinking eyes while the Squid give you cursory glances as they march to their jobs at the heads of the gambling tables. The air is scorching hot and any debauchery and depravity you wish to enjoy can be found here, the one place in The City where the humans do not rule and the Message does not go.

Smile, Tajinder Zahman. For this great, terrible, beautiful city is yours and yours alone.

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