Today could be described as
- I grew up there >> Beckenham.
- My dad lived there >> Wandsworth.
- And now I live near there >> Sutton.
Okay, finished now. What do you mean you need more? *sigh* If I must. Let me get coffee first.
Whilst the kettle boiled my friend and dog sitter phoned me in outrage. She was trying to get across Penge High Street to walk some dogs but the Olympic parade was in her way. How dare it!
I am a south London girl. I’ve lived here all my life bar a few years down to Crawley. Whilst my family have scattered to the four corners of the UK, I have stayed within a few miles of where I was born. I grew up in Beckenham and used to walk to Bromley for shopping. My first McDonalds was eaten in Penge. I worked in Croydon after leaving school.
This is so boringly domestic, isn’t it?
Would you like something slightly different? For two glorious years I was a New Romantic. What do you mean – am I that old? Yes, yes I am.
David Bowie was born in Brixton but he moved to Bromley when he was six years old. Did you know that Bowie’s first hit in the UK – 1969’s Space Oddity – was used by the BBC in its coverage of the moon landing. No, nor did I. It’s amazing what trivia you find out.
Now I was a Japan fan, and my all-time fangirl crush, David Sylvianwas born in Beckenham. Do you know how special that made me feel? Well yes, I was a tinhat about Japan.
Oooh and changing the subject completely. Have any of you read The Buddha of Surburbia by Hanif Kureishi. That was set in Beckenham and Bromley. The characters drank in my local. As I read the book I could picture the roads. Incidently, that was one of the first books I read with openly bisexual characters.
My French teacher used to teach Nick Heyward from Haircut One Hundred. Not only was she gorgeous and slim (cow!) but she had street cred too. Teenage girls and pop stars – a lethal combination.
If you are from my era you might rememberPoly Styrene from X-Ray Spex, another native of Bromley. Sadly she died last year.
Now, you may be thinking this doesn’t really tell me much about the area. I guess not. This is my Beckenham, where I went to school and where I got married. Where I went drinking on Friday nights and where I slowly read my way through Mills and Boon and sixties thrillers in the old library.
Beckenham was a sedate suburb. Beckenham High Street used to have a Wimpy and old tearooms. The smell of coffee grounds from Importers coffee shop permeated the atmosphere. I hated the smell. I hated coffee at that point. *shakes my head at old me*
The cinema under a ballroom was where I learned to dance. I still have the photos and the certificates. Beckenham Recreation Ground was where I tried my first cigarettes and last. I hated smoking.
I love Beckenham even though it’s not *my* Beckenham any more. The place has moved on, and so have I. I moved about 10 miles west and Beckenham got a Marks & Spencers Food Hall. I always promise myself I’d move back. Maybe one day.
This time I’m promoting Mr. Plum. It’s set on my local station, even down to the coffee shop. Kai is fictional though.
Dave picks up coffee every morning at the train station on his way to work. He can’t help but notice when the man in front of him is given a plum-colored cup holder, as it goes perfectly with his own tie. There are other things he can’t help but notice, like how hot “Mr. Plum” is.
When Mr. Plum hands over a cup of coffee, exactly how Dave likes it, the morning he’s late getting to the station, it’s the start of a beautiful friendship. Or is it?
It was the color of the sleeve that Dave noticed, a deep plum that matched the stripe on the tie Tom was wearing. Dave always noticed things like that. He had a keen eye for detail. Dave was green with envy; he had never been given that sleeve. Plum was by far and away his favorite color, and yet the world and the coffee shop on the station had never seen fit to give him a plum sleeve on Dave’s morning drink.
He didn’t get it this time either. His was red. It was a deep red and it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t plum and it made Dave grit his teeth in frustration. He could hardly demand that Kai, the barista with a huge smile who made him industrial strength coffee every morning at no extra charge, hunt through cardboard sleeves until he found a plum one. Yeah, he could just see how well that would go down with the queue of bleary-eyed commuters behind him. So he just smiled thinly and, clutching his coffee, followed Mr. Plum, for want of a better name, out of the tiny coffee shop on platform four, to await the 8:50 to London Waterloo.
The lucky man wandered farther up the platform than Dave normally stood, his nose buried deep in his Kindle. He didn’t seem to notice the covetous glances Dave had been casting at his coffee cup. The train arrived and they both got on, Mr. Plum in another carriage. Dave was lucky enough to find a seat, and he sat, sipping at his coffee, with the crimson sleeve around his cup. If the coffee tasted a little bitter to him, maybe that was just an added dash of sour grapes — plum colored, of course.
You can find Sue’s HEAs here – well, kind of HEAs.