Brief Encounters: London 4pm

Strolling away from the almost bucolic festival environment of the climate camp about 4pm on Wednesday, I hear a conversation between an obese woman and her exhausted looking colleague. ‘Of course’, she says, ‘this is all based on the idea that climate change is true’. I look at her, shocked. The man grunts his assent and they labour their way up the street.

Turning left out of Russell Square tube about the same time the following day, I hear a man behind me ask, ‘Do you think it’s changed you as a person?’. ‘No’, replies a woman’s voice. ‘Do you?’. Intrigued, I turn and look directly behind me, and see that the woman has a pirate-style patch over her right eye. The couple are holding hands. ‘No’, says the man. The woman sees me staring at them and glares at me with her one good eye. It occurs to me that this would be a good starting point for a novel.

Passing a pub off Tottenham Court Road in the April sunshine, I see a fat man sitting at an outside table hungrily reading the newspaper. His t-shirt reads, ‘Fat men are harder to kidnap’. I check my phone. It is Friday, just after 4pm.

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