Caught by the River


John Andrews | 20th May 2008


whilst you were perfecting the art of the drive-by, french style, i was out wandering the old english close season, the only map the one i was making up as i walked along. leaving the heath behind i headed down the hill past the ghost site of fields tackle shop on highgate road the place made famous by their roach pole maker who took a holiday in australia and got eaten by a great white. about as ironic a feat as emigrating to normandy and spending your days fighting them in the car parks. beyond the closed doors of fields lies kentish town proper not a place you’d recognise any more, wholly changed since your last century sojourn in north london. i found your memory half way to camden standing under the sign for angler’s lane, a road to nowhere if ever there was one. on the corner where the anglers pub used to be and flat caps used to talk about the spiegels in highgate and the tench in vale of health and drink in memory of roach pole is a branch of nando’s where they serve the meal of choice for every gib wielding gun toting under 16 gangsta in greater london – drive-by chicken – the tastiest dish for miles around. and opposite the perilous parlour of peri-peri a thrift shop whose bookshelf revealed a piece of hidden treasure. casting at the sun as written by shane meadows. elliott symak’s diary of a lincolnshire redmire which he kept secret for ten years throughout the seventies. a two acre bloodstain on the ordnance survey map populated by mahoghany monsters and fished by h block lookalikes. the particle chronicles, a broken bedchair confessional which is more aa than bb, and either way a classic, ‘ my thoughts plummet back to earth as a chilling yell escapes from the spinney to my rear. the vixen – perhaps attracting her mate, or gloating over the steaming corpse of a luckless rabbit. so too do the owls screech, sending the iciness of death into the heart of an innocuous shrew. and all the time the stars watch down on us in stony silence; atomic furnaces from which we will never feel the heat but of which i always dream’.

close season confessions of a carp fisher on the birdtable