Talk of an outside loo*, prefabricated buildings put up after World War II and the coldest winter for 20 years sounds like something out of a sepia-tinged gritty 1950s drama. But it was reality for me and then BBC colleague Richard Kurti, living in 1980s London.
It’s fresh in the memory as I’ve made a podcast where Richard and I retrace our steps to Sandmere Road, SW4 where we lived in 1986-87 (as you’ll hear, I was in denial as to how long ago we cohabited). Fate even managed to sync the weather to provide snow!
It brings back memories of movies like Withnail & I, seeing The Smiths on their The Queen is Dead tour at nearby Brixton Academy, and TV shows like The Late, Late Breakfast Show with Noel Edmonds. I’m sure of the latter because I worked on it. Richard and I were BBC sound technicians, thrown together by fate as we had adjacent rooms at the BBC training centre in Worcestershire where we were on a residential course, prior to working at Television Centre in Wood Lane, W12.
While Richard subsequently went off to direct videos and then write for big and smaller screens, I pursued my own dreams of announcing and presenting.
And if those cultural references all seem prehistoric to you, chances are you’re a millennial. But just to increase the appeal of the podcast – ok, it was chance – we met up with the delightful millennial Lucy, who works at an estate agents near Clapham Common. At least, she does at weekends – in the week, she’s training to be a solicitor, and lives in the trendy east London area of Shoreditch.
In the show you’ll hear what’s changed in the capital since Richie and I shared a ground-floor flat. You’ll also hear what landmarks and features of London haven’t changed. And more to the point, in a studio conversation punctuated by two location pieces, you’ll hear about Richard’s two novels – Monkey Wars and Maladapted – and hear the author read an exciting excerpt from the first of those.
And in the exchanges and crossfire of our conversation, you might discern the reason why we only lasted under the same roof in SW4 for six months – or, at least, you will if you’re – appropriately – reading between the lines..!
*WC/closet/head/john/restroom… etc. in your language