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. 

I don’t know whether the digression into cultural references would make it into a finished novel but I’ve put a few things in for my own amusement. 

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, an image based on Glastonbury Tor rising up over the 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, with its wonderfully mythological cover. James, being on his way to being half cut, starts humming and singing tracks from the album while Kim is mulling over the imagery of the City as a citadel. The song he ends up singing is “Take 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 them choose to do later.

But what was so strange is that Kim has just asked James what he did at work and he responds that he ‘made money out of nothing’. Now a very similar quotation has always stuck in my mind by a musician — that the concept behind a particular album was ‘making music out of nothing’, which I’ve always thought was a great description of the music. The musician was Bryan Ferry and the album, of course, ‘Avalon’.

Many critics have described Avalon as one of the most romantic albums ever made and it was interesting that it came to mind while I was writing this scene (they’re just an odd, platonic couple at the moment). At the start of the chapter the two walk past the plaque 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 of ‘Take a Chance With Me’ that I found on You Tube.

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