Impressed by this young man, the author of a book critiquing the demonisation of the British working class, I follow him into the gothic revival church on the Gloucester Road. I used to live in this area! I call after him – but he cannot hear me.
The interior of the church has been partitioned off with plywood into a series of exhibition areas that are connected by narrow walkways and crawlspaces. I try to reach the young man – who I find attractive – but there is a crowd of Japanese tourists coming in the other direction: young women in plaid skirts, white blouses and with Hello Kitty satchels slung about their narrow shoulders. I have to crush myself against the partition so that they can squeeze past me. Finally I reach the space that approximates to the altar, but there’s no sign of the young man, only a mound of cattle dung, a botheration of flies, some torn up physics textbooks. From the direction of the Cromwell Road there comes the snarling retort of a motorcycle engine.