Picture taken looking up from the courtyard of an apartment block
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Channel Six

Looking at the apartment block made me feel colder than the wind did. It was a grim cube of concrete and steel, designed by a communist architect during an age that knew no joy, and the low winter sky leached the life from it like a sponge.

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The Other Side Of The Wall

He’d always lived next to the wall. It dominated the landscape, an abrupt barrier to hold back the fields and trees that flowed down from the distant purple mountains, a line that ran as far as the eye could see in either direction. It loomed, yet offered the comfort of protection as much as any uneasy sensation of captivity.

Picture of the Devil and The Great Meliakoff
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The Great Meliakoff

Anatoly Meliakoff was the greatest magician of his age. Crowds would flock from miles around to see him, trudge through mud and rain and snow to see him, and when a theatre booked him for a show word of his coming would race before him like fire until all the hotels were full and the whole town was ablaze with anticipation. They queued around the block to buy tickets before the theatre even opened, huddled inside their coats beneath woollen hats and scarves, stamped their feet to drive out the cold as the lucky ones ran from the box office like lottery winners, holding aloft bright orange tickets, waving them at the gleeful crowd before hurrying off into the wind or the rain or the whirling snow. He arrived out of nowhere. Just walked into Budapest one fierce summer noon, him and that dwarf of his, both of them dressed in bow tie and tails, dust on their shoes and sweat clouding their high, starched collars. He walked straight to the theatre and asked to be allowed to perform there that very evening, as though nothing could have seemed more natural.

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The Reality Machines

See the green door? The little green door like an entrance to a hobbit hole? Padlock, veins of lichen running up it like rust? Yeah? See the stones on the ground? The paving stones that look like broken toffee? Stand on them. Stand on them, hold your breath and try to feel. With your feet, try to feel with your feet. It’s difficult at first, but just wait. It’s there, underneath. You can feel it. It being vibrations. Big, sticky, echoey vibrations, like the ground itself is kind of simmering. All the time. It’s like a kind of energy. Don’t stand on it for too long, though. It’s no good for you. It’ll mess you up.

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After Jeff Goldblum And The Ripples In The Water

The old Cannon Cinema was where he went on his first ever date. A girl who drew bouncy cartoons called him up one day and said to him do you want to go to the cinema with me, and he said yes without even thinking, without even checking what the film was, and when she called him a day or two later and told him that they were going to see Jurassic Park he still said yes, said it twice in fact, even though he’d already seen it and he knew which of the characters would be crushed and torn apart and eaten.