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by Vincent JS Wood

The French were on the train. Two beautiful, young French people speaking with their silver gilded tongues in my grubby, over packed carriage. They were so beautifully out of place, what the fuck were they doing there?

It angered me that they were glamourising my filthy, little reality. What compelled these fabulous demi-gods to leave the land of Cocteau and Rodin in order to sit on trains going through East London? When Shakespeare wrote his sonnets he was not thinking of Lewisham or Peckham. When Wordsworth wandered lonely as a cloud it sure as hell wasn’t through Woolwich, so fuck off. Fuck off back to your high culture and your long lunches and take your poetic prose with you. Fuck off with your laissez-faire and latest fashion and leave us to wallow in our insipid little lives. We don’t want you here showing us how good they could be.

The train announcer starts to run through the stops we’ll be going past and the beautiful French woman stops her beautiful conversation mid-flow and, imitating the announcer perfectly, runs through the stations without missing a beat. She knows this line better than I do. Does she know the city better? She giggles, she is happy. She is taking joy from the city, from her surroundings. For the rest of us who live here, have known it our whole lives, it’s just a city. She finds fun in the train announcements, she enjoys wave after wave of grey buildings that sail by and, for that, the city is truly hers.


Vincent Wood is a Creative Writing graduate from the University of Greenwich, London. He’s had several short stories published both online and in print. As well as winning a special commendation from First Writer Magazine’s Eighth International Short Story competition, he was also shortlisted for Askance Publishing’s 2012 short story competition and Aesthetica Magazine’s Creative Writing Award 2014.

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