In 2012, the number 343 bus caught fire outside my bedroom window in southeast London. Caught fire might be misleading. Rather, it exploded, rattling my windows, waking me up, and drawing most of the … Read article
A pinhole camera is a simple device: light passes through an aperture into a box, and an inverted image of the outside is projected on to the opposite wall. Build-your-own kits are sold as novelties, … Read article
I am happy staying put; not joining in. But your sun-stroked face keeps peeping around the corner of the day room: eyes locked, that fierce smile, your whole heaving body beckoning me to better w… Read article
Katrin! You so slow! Look – everyone behind you is piss off! I look in the mirror. A queue of traffic is building up behind me as I head south on the A202. I’m being cautious. No Katrin, … Read article
I know every dog owner thinks theirs is special – but my cairn terrier really is. So monstrously wilful is this outrageous beast, so magnificently unconcerned with pleasing anyone but his fat furry … Read article
The Famennian Age Extinction Last night I saw the Famennian Age Extinction in an off-licence in Camberwell Green. It was dressed in hospital sandals and soiled hospital slacks. Holding a leather hosp… Read article
I drove past Fung’s a few days ago. Of course, it isn’t Fung’s now. It’s an empty building surrounded by weeds, an ugly breezeblock shell. There’s plywood over the sliding doors, and a spind… Read article
These are turbulent times; and in their different ways, all of the pieces in this new issue of The Junket reveal our collective sense that something is shifting.
Perhaps it takes a sixties rebel being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature to realise just how defunct the establishment is. A young Bob Dylan appears in Emma Bielecki’s ‘Camera Obscura’ – an essay all about times and changing – in a photograph taken by her father (a Polish exile who fled Soviet Central Europe in the world’s last great refugee crisis). Examining photography’s ‘trick of presence’, she negotiates history, memory and dementia through a lens both academic and personal.
Tom Offland’s ‘EXCUSE ME GHOST’ zooms out on this tension between present and past on a scale as vast as geological time. This trio of short stories is as uncanny as it is original, skulking about between paradigm shifts as it conveys – with unusual beauty and humour – ‘the enormity and indignity and impossibility of life’. A sense of otherness and alienation also echoes through Molly Taylor’s poem ‘Reluctance’, in which ‘not joining in’ is pitched against ‘better worlds’, and notions of progress are challenged.
One man desperately in search of a new world order is the protagonist of Nick Hunt’s ‘Fung’s’ – a visionary supermarket manager who installs a system of permanent revolution in the aisles. Unnerving and funny, this story imaginatively declares war on the smallness and monotony of our market-driven existence. While the changing face of food production is explored again, more literally but no less intriguingly, in Felicity Cloake’s ‘Turnspit Tykes’, which looks back at the curious history of the poor dogs once forced to labour in our kitchens.
The final two pieces in Junket XVII look both back and forward, taking journeys around the changing map of South London in search of what the future holds. Katharine Markwick’s ‘The Road Ahead’ is a warm and witty memoir about the simultaneously commonplace yet unusual relationship that grows between a driving instructor and their pupil, wondering what lessons are really being learned. While James Draney’s ‘On the 343’ takes a burning bus as the starting point for a personal and political meander around modernity: mourning what’s lost in a city framed by gentrification, privatisation and technology.
The wheels are still in spin, the present now will soon be the past, so come writers, critics, daughters and sons: keep your eyes wide and read The Junket.
List of Contributors
Emma Bielecki lives, writes and teaches in London. She is currently working on a biography of Vidocq, thief, counterfeiter, conman - and head of the Paris police.
Felicity Cloake is an award-winning food columnist for the Guardian and the New Statesman, and the author of four cookbooks, most recently, The A-Z of Eating (Fig Tree, 2016). She lives in London with a small dog.
James Draney is a writer and critic based in London. His essays and reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books and Bookslut.
Nathan Dunne is the author of Lichtenstein, and the editor of the essay collection Tarkovsky.
Nick Hunt is the author of 'Walking the Woods and the Water', an account of an eight-month walk to Istanbul. His next book involves following Europe's winds. He works as an editor for the Dark Mountain Project. @underscrutiny
Katharine is a writer and theatre maker from Halifax, West Yorkshire. She lives in London.
Tom Offland lives in London. His work has recently appeared in Litro and Vol. 1 Brooklyn. He is the author of the blog happyhealthynormal.