It has been a mad and hectic week, and what little of my attention hasn't been focused on the book I'm currently writing (the publishers want a look at it ahead of the London Book Fair in a fortnight, so it's meant some unplanned sprucing, and picking the right cut-off point to give a flavour of it, wondering how much is enough, which isn't easy) been spent thinking about one of my favourite subjects: what lies under London.
First of all, one of the finest London chroniclers, Peter Ackroyd, has written a book called London Under, which I can't wait to get my hands on. Ackroyd wrote London: The Biography, which truly illuminated my interest in the Big Smoke. It presented, for me, the city in a whole new light, and gave my passion for it a context. His new one concentrates solely on the secrets beneath the London soil, and the Telegraph carried this enticing extract about buried rivers and lost catacombs. It's going to be a go-to-bed-early, turn-the-phone-off, keep-the-kids-away-from-me read and I can't wait.
Secondly, and perhaps even more excitingly, I came across this post on one of my favourite London blogs. I'd heard about this guy and his plan to re-open the disused stations of the London Underground to the public before, but thought him a crank, and that the red tape and health and safety regulations would put paid to his scheme. It turns out, I'm delighted to say, that I was wrong, he's deadly serious and his dream is closer to becoming a reality.
I have written about disused tube stations before. In that post I mentioned how I'd love to concoct a plot involving ghost stations. The good news is I have (starring Nigel Barnes and DCI Grant Foster...) and sometime soon I hope to release it to the world. So the idea that I might one day be able to venture into one of these abandoned spaces is pretty thrilling, especially after I inquired with London Underground about the chances of me visiting one as research and was told I would have to pay a considerable amount for the privilege. I'd be the first in the queue for a tour, or a pint at The Brompton Road Underground boozer, or whatever they have in store, if Ajit Chambers plan comes off.
Anyway back to my sprucing. Be sure there'll be more from me about these plans, as well as details about this ghost station story of mine.