Picture the 80s, what comes into your mind? Riots, coalminers striking, Thatcher standing up in parliament looking like the heartless bitch she was? Or maybe it was barrow boys from Essex who’d suddenly turned into millionaires snorting cocaine off the arse cheeks of some high class escort. Might even be Live Aid which comes into your mind, the rich and famous finding a conscience, or trying to sell records, depends if you’re a cynic or not. A decade which had a cloud of grey hanging over it, playing out to a background of synthesisers and the shouts of an unemployed, disaffected youth.
The 90s began with that cloud still hanging over it. Thatcher went and people cheered, jobs began to turn up to. The sun was beginning to shine through those clouds, ecstasy was all the rage, kids dancing the nights away in the fields of the home counties while the Old Bill were led on a merry dance. We’d forgotten about Africa as well, that charity thing was all a bit too 80s. Perms were no more, shoulder pads dispensed with. By the middle of the decade the sky was blue, Britain was cool again, Oasis, Blur, even the prime minister was cool, he hadn’t bombed another country yet. It’s amazing how a person can go from a saviour to a lying cunt in the space of a few years.
When you’re a kid a lot passes you by, growing up in the 80s you didn’t give a shit that the Russians might be coming. They were far away behind that imaginary curtain the teacher was telling you about in history. The miners too, you were too far away, you didn’t really give a shit what they thought about. Some would say that about sums up Londoners, lost in their own world, all outside it irrelevant because the closest you’ve been to coal mines and green fields is the time your old man tried to take you away on holiday but the car broke down somewhere just past Watford so you spent the summer kicking a ball about in the concrete jungle you called home.
You tell people where you live and they’ll go ‘ooohhh, bit dodgy around there, ain’t it?’. You don’t really know what they mean. I mean your next door neighbour always seems to bringing a new television home each night, and the woman who lives above you does seem to have a lot of boyfriends, what’s dodgy about that? There’s that geezer who lives on the bottom floor, apparently he likes to flash people, that’s a bit dodgy but he got nicked the other week so it don’t matter. The large grey blocks are good places to play run outs too, you wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Then you become a teenager and you fucking hate everything. You know the woman upstairs is a crack whore and the geezer that has a new television every night is nicking them out of people’s houses. Your mate at school, the one who lives in a nice house a couple of miles away, he has a garden and his mum takes him out each weekend somewhere nice. Took him to Kew Gardens one weekend to look at the flowers, you ask your mum why she doesn’t take you to Kew and she looks at you funny. You hate flowers and why the fuck would you want to be wandering around a botanical gardens with your mother. You’ve got to find some way to wind her up though.
If you’re like me, you’ll have the piss taken out of you for having a bit about you, wanting to go to university. Not that you know why you’re going to university because you’ll be fucked if you have any idea what you’ll do after, but it sounds like fun. Getting stoned while discussing Sartre in some flat in Brixton, thinking you’re cool with your Che Guevara t-shirt and Bob Marely flag draped across the wall. None of you are any more revolutionaries or capable of finding hidden meanings in music than the average person but you like to think you can change the world. It’s the drugs ain’t it?
People are transient, they drift in and out of your life, forgotten until some event, a piece of music or a glimpse of a stranger triggers your memory. You look back with happiness, anger, longing, sadness, nostalgia. And then some other thing in a world over saturated with stimulation diverts your attention. An advert with a load of ‘lads’ in a pub putting a bet on, a fat geezer shouting at the screen telling you to be responsible while you contemplate putting your weeks wages on United to win at home because that would never lose. See, that memory has gone.
Love, loss, drugs and parties, bizarre encounters and the questioning of your own morals: Fallen Angels, join a group of friends living in London and relive the summer of 1997.
The Unwashed is a book of short stories about disadvantaged and socially excluded people living on a fictitious London council estate. (There is a review on this page which says the book is in ‘Scottish dialect’, it’s not so please ignore it).
‘An amazing book. I could not put it down. In particular the story about the young asylum seekers was incredible. It gave a great insight into the fear and uncertainty that asylum seekers must face on a daily basis. This story should be read by all, as it may help change the mindset of society in general.’ Amazon Reviewer
‘This was such an amazing read, totally gripped me from start to finish and didn’t want it to end. Such a great insight in to lives of people we can sometimes be so quick to judge. Cant recommend it enough.’ Amazon Reviewer
Liar is a novel about a child growing up in London with his heroin addicted mother, how he struggles with his identity and how people around him view him and his mother.
‘This was one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read. I could not out it down! I could relate the the themes and issues in the book, which felt empowering. I felt connected. Sean Hogan has given a voice to the children of drug addicts and highlighted their journey in life. I highly recommend this book to all and cannot wait for his next book to be released.’ Amazon Reviewer
‘I couldn’t put it down. Liar examines one family’s journey through some of life’s most desperate struggles, primarily via the voice of Jay, the only child of his heroin and crack-addicted mother. Hogan doesn’t seek to woo the reader with sensationalized stereotyping, but tells it how it is from the point of view of all his characters. It is a story of loss, of the way society’s deep prejudice against addicts and their families can do far more to destroy an individual than the actual drug itself ever could, of how what is said, and left unsaid, can shape our entire futures. A great read.’ Amazon Reviewer
Queen’s Park to The Elephant is 16 short stories based on the London Underground’s Bakerloo Line. For each station there is a short story which opens your eyes to the stories of the people you see on your daily commute.