The Bard of Sydenham?

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Thomas
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The Bard of Sydenham?

Post by Thomas » 9 Nov 2008 15:16

I almost choked on my cornflakes this morning when I read this profile of writer Shena Mackay in The Observer

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/no ... ena-mackay

It starts "Like any fan of Shena Mackay's work, I associate her strongly with a certain part of south London: Norwood, Crystal Palace, Sydenham; places whose suburban indignities, from crisp bags to car parks, she has often captured so beadily and yet so beautifully".

I'd never heard of her or her books - has anyone read them, and is the above quote a fair representation?

annabel mclaren
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Post by annabel mclaren » 10 Nov 2008 18:19

Shena Mackay lived until recently in Upper Norwood and the novel that Rachel Cooke, in the Observer profile mentions - Dunedin - has passages set in Upper and West Norwood; it also, I'm pretty sure, features a large, rambling house on Beaulah Hill called St Valery.
Other contenders for the Bard of Sydenham? Kazuo Ishiguro was living in Newlands Park when his novel The Remains of the Day won the Booker Prize - but it's set in a country house and doesn't contain any Sydenham references. It was published shortly before Bromley-born Hanif Kureishi's Buddha of Suburbia came out. In a Guardian profile, Ishiguro was interviewed in the late-lamented Copper Kettle tea shop (he loved Sydenham's caffs) and the piece was headlined 'The Buddha of Sydenham'. A more recent candidate? Mohammed Hanif, whose novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes is shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and was on the long list for this year's Booker.

simon
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Post by simon » 10 Nov 2008 18:33

So Annabel does Mohammed Hanif live in Sydenham then?

Greg Whitehead
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Post by Greg Whitehead » 10 Nov 2008 18:51

annabel mclaren wrote:Shena Mackay lived until recently in Upper Norwood and the novel that Rachel Cooke, in the Observer profile mentions - Dunedin - has passages set in Upper and West Norwood; it also, I'm pretty sure, features a large, rambling house on Beaulah Hill called St Valery.
Other contenders for the Bard of Sydenham? Kazuo Ishiguro was living in Newlands Park when his novel The Remains of the Day won the Booker Prize - but it's set in a country house and doesn't contain any Sydenham references. It was published shortly before Bromley-born Hanif Kureishi's Buddha of Suburbia came out. In a Guardian profile, Ishiguro was interviewed in the late-lamented Copper Kettle tea shop (he loved Sydenham's caffs) and the piece was headlined 'The Buddha of Sydenham'. A more recent candidate? Mohammed Hanif, whose novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes is shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and was on the long list for this year's Booker.
When I first moved to Sydders eight years ago I rented a room in 43 Knighton Park Road as we were exchanging contracts and had to move out of our place in Maidenstone Hill in West Greenwich as the new owners wanted in. The landlady in 43 said that Kazuo Ishiguro lived in the house opposite her on Knighton Park Road...

I defer to your superior intellect here Annabel but she was adamant it was KPR and not Newlands Park...

Mind, she was a crazy Aussie and did smoke pot constantly and had let her home fall into disrepair so stupid me for believing her - I've told loads of people which house it was also when they come to visit!

Damn you Newlands Park.
Last edited by Greg Whitehead on 10 Nov 2008 18:57, edited 1 time in total.

annabel mclaren
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Post by annabel mclaren » 10 Nov 2008 18:52

Fairly certain he does - he gave a talk at the Kirkdale Bookshop last July during their Book Week.

Greg Whitehead
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Post by Greg Whitehead » 10 Nov 2008 19:00

I'm gutted to learn it was Newlands Park and not Knighton Park Road. The amount of people I've pointed out the house of Kazuo Ishiguro to. Friends, family, tradesmen...anyone who would listen.

Oh well.

admin
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Post by admin » 10 Nov 2008 19:28

Nope - Mohammed Hanif DID live here. He has returned to Pakistan:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/ju ... dwellbeing

Admin

annabel mclaren
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Post by annabel mclaren » 11 Nov 2008 11:55

Just a footnote for Greg - KI's partner worked in Lewisham, so they may have had two boltholes in Sydders...
Admin - thanks for the update on Mohammed Hanif.

parklife
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Post by parklife » 11 Nov 2008 16:08

Hi Greg

I live in KPR as well and knew your Aussie Landlady.
Have to say you are right !!!!!!!!

Greg Whitehead
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Post by Greg Whitehead » 11 Nov 2008 16:36

...
Last edited by Greg Whitehead on 12 Nov 2008 10:15, edited 1 time in total.

Greg Whitehead
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Post by Greg Whitehead » 11 Nov 2008 18:28

...
Last edited by Greg Whitehead on 12 Nov 2008 10:15, edited 1 time in total.

nasaroc
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Post by nasaroc » 12 Nov 2008 09:44

Guys - this thread is about literary links in Sydenham not about your former landlady!

If you want to have a "private conversation" why not PM or telephone each other - or post your messages in Town Pub?

Nothing against the things you are posting - but this is a fairly typical off message conversation which, along with personal abuse, is turning this forum from a lively discussion on Sydenham life into a chat room.

Greg Whitehead
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Post by Greg Whitehead » 12 Nov 2008 10:17

Good point well made nasaroc. References to the old landlady have been deleted accordingly.

nasaroc
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Post by nasaroc » 12 Nov 2008 11:54

Many thanks Greg.

LondonDistricts
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Re: The Bard of Sydenham?

Post by LondonDistricts » 27 Nov 2018 09:20

Maybe this is of interest... A new documentary on Sydenham covering the making of the novel 'The Remains of the Day' by Kazuo Ishiguro... It shows and details the house he lived in and where he wrote the novel as well as the surrounding community https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqRG9nO ... vCQBcy8dLC

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