Chris's debut novel The Dig Street Festival was published in April 2021.
Chris tweets @WalshWrites
Chris's favourite novel is Stoner by John Williams and his favourite novella is The Death of Ivan Illyich by Leo Tolstoy. His top poet is Philip Larkin. He is also a fan of Spike Milligan.
That afternoon, pregnant clouds marched over Leytonstow. We three slackened our walking pace and re garded them, lined up across the broken horizon. It felt like an omen, but I didn’t tell Glyn, or Gabby for that matter, pretty sure the former would accuse me of believing my brain was intrinsically linked to the weather. I didn’t see why it shouldn’t be. Bathed in moving shadows and a palpable drop in pressure, the normal commercial drone of Dig Street was traded for an expectant air. Pigeons huddled on high ledges. Tower blocks cut the moving sky like great inverted dreadnoughts. At ground level, checkout staff stopped scanning baked beans and peered skywards from smudged shop windows. The normally endemic blare of car and truck horns became muffled and less frequent, and the pavement stank of late-summer’s locked heat. Vision appeared to blur, and it was as if the senses had been infected by a species of cosmic déjà vu. Either that, or someone had spiked the water supply.
So thought I.
Then the wind got up, whipping discarded parking fines and pizza fliers around our ears, and the rain came down, sending shoppers scurrying. Not us: Gabriel Longfeather danced in the bus lane catching fat drops on the tip of his tongue while a worried-looking Glyn Hopkins studied the dense horizon, presumably for buses. I stood fast, consciously examining the meteorological changes afoot, and taking deep lungfuls of perfumed air – not so much what they cook up in Paris (they make it on industrial estates but will have us think it’s hand-drawn by virgins from the sexual organs of rare flowers) – no, these olfactory experiences were more along the lines of urban fox, council-cut grass, and the trodden dogends of a litter-collecting community service gang.