An evocation of London, explored through the Circle Underground Line. To be published in March 2013.
Brought up off the King’s Road in the seventies when punk was in full bloom, Lucy is part of a family that comes in the wonderful tradition of English eccentrics. In Heads and Straights, she creates a funny, moving account of a group of people eager to escape the confines of class. Through interlocking tales of their extravagant and often self-destructive journeys away from the Circle line stops of Sloane Square, South Kensington and Gloucester Road, Lucy evokes the collision between conformism and bohemian excess and the complicated class antipathies that flourished in that particular time and place. In the end we are left wondering – is it ever possible to escape, or do we, in our travels, simply loop back on ourselves?
Why did you choose the title Heads and Straights?
The title echos 1970s drugspeak and the language of teenage rebellion. For my three elder sisters the world, in those days, was divided not along class lines but between those who experimented with drugs (Heads) and those who didn’t (Straights). In the four decades since then the word ‘Head’, in family folklore, has come to include anyone, of any age and from any walk of life, who likes to live dangerously.
Why did you choose this cover image?
This picture of me aged fifteen was taken in the canteen of my sixth form college in Kings Cross just after I had enrolled. It was there in that large, noisy room that I first made my visceral encounter with the big wide world beyond my safe and uniformly middle class corner of Chelsea and Kensington. I was terrified, feigning nonchalance (with that spoon), feeling conspicuous (in that jumper) and inwardly praying for acceptance.