I’ve yet again been amazed by how all these weird connections come tumbling out while I’m writing — things I don’t realise until perhaps a day or two afterwards.Â
I don’t know whetherÂ the digression into cultural references would make itÂ into a finished novel but I’ve put a few things in for my own amusement.Â
In a part I’ve just written, James and Kim are walking through an uninspiring part of Hoxton towards City Road and they see a view of the City through a gap created by a building site. The heat on the concrete shimmers and Kim thinks of Avalon — or, more specifically,Â an image based on GlastonburyÂ Tor rising up over theÂ flooded Somerset levels (as they would have been in Arthurian times).
What James associates with Avalon is the Roxy Music album from 1982 which Kim knows too,Â with its wonderfully mythological cover. James, being on his wayÂ to being half cut, starts humming and singing tracks from the album while Kim is mulling over theÂ imagery of the City as a citadel. The song he ends up singing is “TakeÂ A Chance With Me” (not to be confused with the Abba song of a similar title). This is a non-too-subtle portent for what both of themÂ choose to do later.
But whatÂ was so strange is thatÂ Kim has just askedÂ James what he did at work and he respondsÂ that he ‘made money out of nothing’. Now a very similar quotation has always stuck in my mindÂ by a musician — that the concept behind a particular album was ‘making music out ofÂ nothing’, which I’ve always thought was a greatÂ description of the music. The musician was Bryan Ferry and the album, of course, ‘Avalon’.
Many critics have describedÂ Avalon asÂ one of the most romantic albums everÂ made and it was interesting that it came to mind while I was writing this scene (they’re just an odd, platonic coupleÂ at the moment). At the start of theÂ chapterÂ the two walkÂ past the plaqueÂ marking the location of Burbage’s ‘The Theatre’ — where the first Shakespeare plays were performed — and Kim tells James that he’s standing right where Romeo and Juliet was first performed. Star cross’d lovers indeed.
Here’s a performance ofÂ ‘Take a Chance With Me’ that I found on You Tube.