I thought I was the only person sitting on the top floor of the double-decker. But a muffled sound behind me made me wonder. It was a night bus. I was immersed in the mysteries of the crime novel I was reading. I heard the sound again. It was a gasp, a rustle.
In 1972, when the miners had muscles and could plunge us into darkness, I was living in Forest Hill, South London. Devonshire Road goes up to the 400s and is lined with quietly confident houses, a couple of well-ordered council estates, mansion blocks and no shops.
I was 26, swigging rum from the bottle in a cheap Delhi bar. A dead loss with scared fists, one step away from a murky past; still strong despite the heavy drinking, the drugs, and not eating. Strong enough to fight. Strong enough to fuck too. Faye was with me.