The Londoners is a quintessential collection of stories that tell stories that are inspired by London and it’s eclectic mix of peoples from all walks of life, narrated by the British-Asian novelist. Each short story can be relished in it’s own full right, however, these stories are interconnected and you can read the work as a whole as a complete work. Vernacular, class, satire abound in this powerful collection of short stories, that explore the written art form with a powerful expressivity.
Job sites Social Media Sites Music and Culture Sites Newspapers Photo Sites
Writing Sites Falun Gong sites Spiritual Sites Bank and E-Commerce Sites
There’s this guy who hangs around the internet all day. He has ten different aliases for ten different chatrooms. He got talking to a woman from LA. They got close and used other applications such as Snapchat to get closer and closer.
Angela was on the webcam and they worked out the arrangements for his visit to the airport in LA. She was wearing a headset and was wearing a cravat and a casual shirt. She wore an eighties style suit with large shoulder pads.
He arrived at the airport to find no one there at the gate.
She had sent him over the course of their exchanges online, 100s of jpegs of the past and present and of his imagined future. From nights at the club with loud friends, holidays with the family.
His past he could not remember as vividly as her. It all seemed so real to him.
He went to a cocktail bar to drown his sorrows and hide in the music. There he found his girl it was no mistaken identity. They were a true fit, as they talked and laughed at the bartenders side, it was close to closing time.
He had ten thousand in a suitcase, she worked as a barmaid. And he would move to to 2nd Avenue.
How long he hung around was a long time. He never left that place. They married and had a son and daughter.
All the lonely nights of the quiet flickering TV sets was gone, they had TV dinners and trips to see the Broadway Musicals and Salsa nights and restaurants such as Spice Bazaar, where the views scene were luxuriantly splendid.
Bangladeshi university student from Dhaka. Classics. Well bred. She read Tagore, Gora. Englishness. Tea Gardens. Arranged Marriage. Rikshas. Painted Mandalas and lanterns.
Mushtaq grown up in Forest gate, sat with his nephew.
Playstation. Jacking. Clubs. Provincial. Long tings practical. No nonsense. Al Pacino. God is money creativity for money. Community service. Tagging. Smoking. Trainers. Starts with nephews friend after sizing up.
Tabloids. Drinks. East End.
Keeps to ways from the past, watches football. Mediocrity. Pride and Prejudice. Virgin Zone.
How much of the past should we retain. What does it mean to be British Asian. Restriction and freedom. Obligation and getting what you want. Standard of living, exploration. Airers. Mentality, bargains and business. Weddings.
This guy works in an insurance company and has a head for figures or stats. He’d learned all there was to learn, had driven the company car, received monthly payroll slips on his welcome mat of his flat. Mortgaged his property. As he contemplated, he looked at the the walls of his flat and wanted to know what was beyond the demarcations of the town he lived in, past the weather vane at the old church. Not just what was beyond the town, and it’s immaculate infrastructure, but what was within the recesses of his own mind. So much had accumulated there, in his mind: newspapers and media, paperwork in loose wooden drawers, company protocol. His dreams were filled with elaborate details, what was written on the side of a$500 of a client’s he had handled at the safe. His dreams were filled with earth and it’s practicalities than sky, and that which is of dreams.
He wanted to go to India to find himself. An earthquake rummaged the shelves of books, and ceramics and earthenware to the tiled floor. The furniture was dislocated and turned upside down. He remembered a Cafe in Oxford he had gone to, where the table and cube you sat on had to be arranged along sliding contours left and right.
He changed the decor to sky blue walls and plush pastel shades, opting for a zen minimalist style with flowing colours.
The provincial ways of the office bored him. They hadn’t seen much of the world before, opting for hearsay and gossip for their view of the world. He relied more than newspapers or media, or encyclopedias on the direct evidence of the senses.
They went to one Fish N Chips place and declared it was the best, not just in town but anywhere in the world. They were to conclusive they drew a line under everything, the parameters of their town and their yardsticks and their gardens and minds. John had been bored, he didn’t want to go walk about past the sad old man who was lonely a second time on a Tuesday afternoon, although his routine walks comforted him, gave him room to think and drift at the same time. He went into neighbouring towns and lounged in libraries, study lamps lit the room. He collected himself before his books he had wandered and handpicked with care around the shelves, drifting from one title to the next one authors name to the next, and making his diverse choices.
The company away day was very local though they hired a minibus. They didn’t go to Brighton or Dover beach because they were from the manor, where other adventurous companies book their employees into the coach to drive them out to the sea. Swirls of rock and candy, tupperware and beach mats. Hampers of French champagne flowing like sea foam.
Normally attired in pebble beach grey, Norman had his swimwear on. He talked about work and what he did with his mates for the most part, as if wishing they were there with him instead, when he was lumbered in with someone in another department, he only said hello to, when he had to deliver photocopies or post that the mailroom boy he still didn’t know the name of had franked, for the Chief Executive.
He didn’t smile much when he was with Jeremy and Jeremys jokes were unfunny, but enough to raise an eyebrow, his humour made him feel vulnerable in his unmanly self deprecation.
Sometimes Jeremy had a hard time of it, and he would make a light remark, laughing. He had to keep up the entertainment rolling. He thought he was encouraging. He thought he could literally talk years of experience into the folks in a two hour long minibus trip. He was the hero, who raised all the others up.
Jeremy championed truth, and smiled at him wryly which confused Norman a great deal, as his face betrayed. Jeremy was lonely but satisfied, he didn’t go to the gym when he was bored. When he was in a good mood his criticisms of everybody seemed to vanish.
Jeremy was serious from overthinking, he stared into space often, too often was he meanly occupied. He thought while other people joked and danced away the night till the early hours. He got frustrated at the weekend instead of chilling, wondering if people were doing nothing like he was. He wanted the days to have their meanings and not to just roll on the same.
As soon as it was 5.30pm Norman became dissatisfied and peeved, he had been putting out for his job, acting his best. His voice tone changed when calls after 5.30pm came in on the company hotline.
When he talked to Jeremy he told him his personal life becuse he thought Jeremy might have guessed what he was going to say already.
Minesh worked at the restaurant he was the head waiter. He wore a thick cotton shirt from Debenhams, a black waistcoat, with jade blue cufflinks on his sleeve, a napkin folded in two on his shoulder. His shirt and attire was sent to the laundromat each week to be dry cleaned. The restaurant decor bespoke character, leather seats styled the room. The menu was on a slip of paper in black and white print, and italics made up a part of the Chef’s specials.
The kitchen staff were newly attired, the Chef had hat and ladle. There were watercolours on the wall.
The kitchen staff’s living quarters was on top of the restaurant there was a washing machine and airers, and the rooms were themed as a theatre stage performers dressing room, it was an open plan room with beds and clothes rails in the room. They were a theatrical bunch, as passionate as the Italians.
However, this was a Indian restaurant, ran by Bengalis who’d been flown over from the rich delta to work. A line hooked up from the Bengali jobcentre in Bricklane, where a bespectacled man had access to the UK’s leading restraurants in one simple leatherbound executive pad. He worked in a zen and tidy way with just a bonzai tree by the windows that had blinds.
The Chef came from Calcutta, there were tea gardens that he’d visited in Bangladesh, where the art of tea drinking has been common.
He’d had a property developed from the money he sent home, his money translated well in the exchange rates, and he was able to build a large house (mansion) in a matter of a few months. He wore an evening gown instead of a longee and he spoke on the phone at 3am.
The town planner seeing the immigrants settle in a part of town, named their roads for Minesh’s first generation family. There was ‘Sari Street’, Seacross Road, where the road was long lined with detached houses was called Broadview Road. The first generation came on planes and ships.
Jack and Joseph and Minesh and Norman and Rachel and Penelope and Charlie and Melissa.
The Asian businessman from India grew up with Bhangra, and mixes from Bally Sagoo, that combined traditional and smooth and sleek beats polished to a finish, were his background. He grew up with DJs, and when he couldn’t get to a set, he would be chilling listening to weekend radio shows. He read widely the spirituality of India, with it’s gurus and teachings. In camaraderie friends held hands in India, as they walked along taking in the sights.
Girls wore dresses that were colourful and elaborate, and the celebratory movies were akin to Mary Poppins and the musicals in England. She didn’t buy into the melodramas of the old Hindhi films that made her forbears similarly melodramatic in their expressions, instead of a strong attitude towards life and it’s living.
On his mantelpiece was an Indian Elephant, dhol drum, and his ipod player mounted on a cream leather stand. His watch was Seiko, he watched carefully, it was water resistant. He kept his wits about him when others were swayed by the emotional theatrics of it all.
His blog had his watched displayed as a jpeg, and the car keys to his Mercedez Benz, showing people how his blogs catered to the clientele’s lifestyle and preferences.
He tailored sites for international clientele, busy folks who brought light paperwork into fancy restaurants they ate in as they picked and chose from the assortment of dishes that were crammed neatly onto the table. Types who laid out their keys, phone and credit card on the table.
On their laptops they clicked and bought shares, travelling the world with a portable office alot more zen.
The girl spoke in American English and had read the English Classics of Pride and Prejudice and the Bronte sisters. You wondered how people in India could relate to such provincial attitudes that lay in literature. Perhaps in their magninimity they were innocent in their appreciation of those works. Perhaps it reminded them of their own provinciality. Great works come from people of all kinds. A great person and a great artist do not necessarily go hand in hand.
They had a classical education in the greats, while they watched Bollywood actresses, who were followed by the crown in tandem in public life and in the dances on the film’s set, in key parts, at set times.
The actress wore large earrings and dressed in the style of East meeting West. She listened to the interviewer and all the fans as if their ‘words’ were ‘worlds’. She lived in two worlds, inner and outer, a perfect circle, encompassing all.
Her dressing table had make-up, her complexion even from the outset, was enhanced.
Her actress friend from England wore a leopard print dress.
She drove away from the moustache wearing uncle who always reprimanded her behind a smile. She bought a sports car, after great strides in her career, breaking from the past when her uncle drove her around for rides around the town as a child. She had her own motivation to drive forward, carrying her bonnet and essentials.
There were mirrors on the car, perfect accessories. Her clothes hangers were on a vintage wardrobe she bought from an antiques fair in Rye, Hastings, England. It was made from oak chopped by lumberjacks in Euopean fields wearing striped shirts with sleeves rolled up, the timber lined up straight in rows.
She had her suit drycleaned, then off she went in a flash, to the waterfront by the promenade to laze around for a while leisurely strolling. Her suit was a remake of the 80s, padded shoulders. She could fend for herself without needing to look back all the time, or a shoulder to lean on.
Lip gloss she wore, she was a fascinating conversationalist. She would furnish stories without concealment only piling on floor by floor, layers of anecdotal detail.
She was clear on who she was, she used to read Jhumpah Lahiri with relish. She cooked the perfect dish with tumeric, paprika, and coriander and basmati rice with mint leaves.
The heavily oily curries, were not her thing, she had a perchant for the lighter dishes like Thai, and Chinese.
She thought the Paris catwalks had great designers of imagination, extragance and vision, but the models were too thin, so that it seeemed to lack the sensousness, worth and feeling it ought to have done.
She loved the Tang dynasty garments in The Albert And Victoria Museum in South Kensington, the long draped sleeves that were majestic and wonderful. Embroidered with cashemere or silk, and generous in the use of colour and material. They were found in museums whilst simultaneously being revived by forward thinking designers.
There’s this guy who gate crashes a party, a party where there’s a mansion. He gatecrashes the party, when he’s not being a flaneur, those artistic folks who travelled and saw. There’s a collection of artists, art gallery directors, dressed up a perfect picture: There’s property devlopers, Amazon explorers creating a blend of the perfect teas, restuarant owners. There’s a huge chandelier and classically trained pianist playing Mozart. The bar is immaculate cabinets, cases, and bottles and coloured glass, and a diamond and silver sheen of cutlery, and bracelet rings around napkins.
There’s a view of the skyline. The windows and mirrors are large. Everyone has their own views of things. There’s one room that is more for one’s inner life than outer. There is incense, Persian rugs decorated with flowers, birds and foliage. There are candles. It’s a large torquise painted room, with plants and there is a real ambience to the room.
He sat with a leather bound poetry book that was large as an atlas book. A glass of wine seated him in one corner. A splendid assortment of cool magazines are fanned along the table, in a perfect curve as yet untouched. There were large italic fonts of quotes from writers on spacious walls.
The musician had the energy and charisma to draw to him lots of people and resounding success. A storm was brewing. He peered into his glass to see his reflection and the froth were as clouds.
He was immaculate and creative and naturally made an inpression without consciously willing it. He wasn’t a person that was too caught up in the affectations of a rock star, the quagmire of Englishness, but worked quietly on his multifarious craft with dexterous fingers that packed a punch. His craft spoken more than he did. His music projected much strength and personal power. He could sayalot by not saying too much. He despised the musicians who sold their souls, not their goods which were merchandised in a fake manner, the sounds too synthetic in their formulaic boredom.
That said, he felt an affinity with alot of people, his music was nuanced with everybody he seemed to meet, with every book he looked at. His music was an eagle that flew, to the farthest reaches, to the depths of the heart, returning to his glove worn lightly like leather jackets, rolled up two tone jeans, the whole package.
He retained his identity in the cacophany of sound, and characters who were out there doing things in their enterprising manner.
Fire straightened him out. The broad sweep of the spiralling starcase the banisters polished mahoghany, made of the rootsy trees. The characters were like planets in orbit in the journey.
Gatecrashing spoke to him of his independent spirit and his personal power –Gatecrashing was his free spirit –Gatecrashing was his experimenting in the world, bringing different elements together — Gatecrashing gave him many gates that he could pass through, beyond the sole gate of his hometown.