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… a love letter to London, to the wet neon flicker of late-night pavements, electric with endless possibility, and the soft dishevelled beauty of the city’s dawn… to the overheard stories and unexplored histories, the facts and the fictions, the accidental poetry and fugitive art of graffiti-slashed suburban stations and rain-splashed shopfronts… the out-of-shot lives half-glimpsed from a train window, or from a phone number scrawled on the back of a Travelcard, dropped on the night-bus stairs…
Founded in April 2003 by Jude Rogers and Matt Haynes, Smoke – an A5 compendium of words and images inspired by London – published its sixteenth issue in the summer of 2010, and then re-invented itself as a website, where new pieces of writing (fiction, non-fiction, something-in-between) are now published roughly two times a week, along with the odd photo and cartoon.
Work also began on a series of one-off projects of a more tangible nature. The first of these was a board game, Soho!, but most will be books on various London-related themes, compiled using pieces which have already appeared on the website alongside new submissions. The first of these, From the Slopes of Olympus to the Banks of the Lea – a reflection on London’s response to hosting the Olympic Games (it contained very little running, jumping or splashing, but did feature cough syrup made out of rose petals gathered from a sunken barge, drunk men in Leyton pubs mooning over ponytailed Czech Amazons, and the melancholy song of a late-night dustman) – was published in August 2013, and in January 2014 plans were announced for a book with the working title Smoke on the Water, a compendium of pieces inspired by London’s rivers, ponds, canals and puddles.
Two other more long-term projects are also underway: Night Bus to Camden (reminiscences of London’s music venues) and Please Do Not Touch The Walrus (1001 things to not do in London).
So, if you have anything you think would fit – whether it’s a short story or a single paragraph – please send it along. The only criterion is that it has to be in some way inspired by London.