Can Everton Jones find out how his father stole Emperor Bokassa’s diamonds and, more importantly, where he hid them; before the world and his brother get there first?
Click on the picture link in the sidebar to read an extract of my first novel, which was published by Paradise Press in August 2012.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

On Hampstead Heath ...

So begins the scene where we meet Kash and Édouard in my novel, Bokassa’s Last Apostle. They are manning a stall on Hampstead Heath, giving out free condoms and lube. I took a stroll onto the heath recently on a damp and drizzly spring afternoon. Obviously, there was nothing untoward going on, just a lady walking her dogs. It is very different at nighttime, when the opening of my novel is set. My hero, Everton Jones, wakes up after being beaten unconscious and having all his possessions stolen, including his clothes. At the junction of the path in the picture above, Kash and Édouard have set up a folding table and are giving out the free packets of condoms. When Everton runs, stark naked, down this path:

I'm planning to read the first chapter of my book at this very spot on the Friday before Pride, that’s 6 July 2012 at 9pm. (provisionally). This, and a series of readings in the places where the action takes place, are going to be videoed and put up on youTube and here, of course. But, how do you get there?

Everton gets there by getting off the bus from Birmingham at Golders Green to look for a pub. He turns the wrong way out of the bus station and goes to his left, up the hill. He eventually does find a pub, this pub:

It’s called the ‘Old Bull and Bush’, a rather nice gastro pub, nothing at all like the place Everton goes into. I’m not going to spoil your reading enjoyment and tell you how it happens, but Everton winds up naked and unconscious in the alley over the road from the pub. Here is the actual alley, photographed looking down it back towards the road:

It’s called ‘Heath Passage’ and has been redeveloped since I used to use it as a short cut onto the West Heath. As memory serves me, it was all stony gravel back in 2003. But it is still there, and it still leads onto Hampstead Heath. If you wanted to get to the spot where I am doing the reading, you would get there more reliably by continuing up the hill until you got to the big pub at the top called ‘Jack Straw’s Castle’. Turning right off the road you reach the pub car park and a set of steps cut into the earth leads off from the back of the car park and down onto the West Heath. Here it is pictured from the bottom of the steps:

You would continue by turning to your right at the bottom of these steps. This path eventually leads to the alley where Everton is regaining consciousness. Further along the path, another one leads off to your left. The picture at the top of this post is that spot, the spot where I will be reading.

RSVP please using facebook if you are planning to come along to the reading. details are here.

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