Welcome to the south, the Surrey shore, the Sunny Side. Get on a bus, go Transpontine and immerse yourself in some of the stories of the city over the water. Inside you’ll find angels, cyborgs, pirates and terrorists. There are shapeshifters, London folk demons and vengeful goddesses but also stories of love, friendship, family life, growing up and revenge in Bus Travel In South London a collection of London fiction written by Chris Roberts and consists of 22 short stories set on, around or linked by South London bus routes.
The author says: ‘Having arrived in South London in the 90s I first lived in Brixton and worked in education in Southwark and Lambeth. I then moved to the Pullens Estate in Walworth in 1998 and lived there until 2010 when I moved to Denmark Hill, and now live on the Camberwell New Road. I still work in education at Lambeth College where I lead on digital learning and digital skills… In short that’s more than half my life living and working in a relatively small area of South London. I loved Walworth soon as I moved there, it was like the north in that people chatted in queues or at bus stops and I got quite passionate about how overlooked SE17 was, and to a lesser extent still is. South London is very much my home, where my friends are (mostly) and many of the places I love including Brockwell Lido, Myatt’s Fields and Ruskin Park. I’ve an interest in London history in general and have been doing walking tours for most of this century’. All of which make Chris Roberts more than qualified to write about South London. His previous books are: Heavy Words Lightly Thrown, Cross River Traffic, Lost English and Football Voodoo. From 2007 to 2011 he published and edited the 21st century penny dreadful One Eye Grey. ‘That publication combined my interest in story telling, folklore and London history and was an attempt to retell old London folktales and urban legends in contemporary London… One Eye Grey is the closest of my previous projects to Bus Travel in South London, most especially the stories that make up the section I’ve called Nighttime which are, in essence, disturbing tales sometimes referencing established or fictional London folklore.’
Bus travel in South London takes that history and folklore to a new level:
The stories daytime: The Last of the Gang to Die – The emotional return to Shooter’s Hill for one of the original dandy highwaymen. A Cyborg’s Dream of the P13 – On the buses with a cyborg fan of one of South London’s most meandering routes. Liebe Astrid – A tale of exile off Coldharbour Lane. White Man on the Clapham Omnibus – He never thought it would happen to him on bus that runs through Clapham. The Lad Who Walked Alone – They’ve shut the sex sauna and made the area la di da and things ain’t what they used to be. New Cross Roads and Friendly Streets – One woman’s search for love, meaning and political correctness on the way to Lewisham. The Tale of the Raven and of the Kat – Hollywood glamour and foreign nobility on the banks of the Ravensbourne. Sound of the Suburbs – Bus travel through some South London suburbs as a mindfulness technique. Commodore of the Pepys Estate – A retired pirate gains a national treasure money cannot buy. Fruit and Nuts – Sex, drugs and rock and roll and picking fruit by the River Pool. Having a Bubble – London is a mirror in all things and we see things differently depending on which side of the looking glass we are on.
The stories night time: Bank Holiday Weekend – Revenge can be a dish served damp and windy. Sung by the Neck – Not all buskers are quite what they seem, not all buses either come to that. Keep Smiling Through- Adults tell children there are no monsters, most of the time this is true, but not always. A Gold for Big Ben – A journalist finds himself well and truly sucker punched in this sporting comeback tale. I Thought We Was Fam– It’s not easy for young hearts to run free in the “roaring 20s”. Jeux Sans Frontier – A tale of cruelty and hidden treasure on the banks of the Old Surrey Canal. The Liberty Bus – The cats are there for a reason but what are they protecting us from? Slouching Towards Balham High Street – The Priory brooded over the West Streatham woods like a ruined pimp. The Heavens over Mortlake – A chef finds that the doors of perception can be opened using an Oyster Card.Karlene at the Crossroads – The top of Streatham Hill provides the solution for all of life’s problems for one bus traveller. A Year from the Provinces –The sun glinted off the top floors as Maria and I turned to face each other. We weaved and curved through Borough towards London Bridge then over the water to Liverpool Street and further out to Essex, far away from SE17 and the strangeness it contained.
Bus travel in South London is a collection of London fiction written by Chris Roberts and published October 11 2019. It consists of 22 short stories set on, around or linked by South London bus routes.
Bus routes featured in the collection include The P13, The 178, The 155, The 185, The 21, , The P5, The 47, The 50, The C10, The 356, The 133, The 468, The 196, The 159, The P4, The RV1, The 63, The 315, The 22, The 109, The 35.
Bus Travel In South London is out on 11th October (Price £9.99). Amazon Kindle (£2.39) out now.