‘Lamb’s been banished.
Where’ve they sent him? Somewhere awful?
Bad as it gets.
God, not Slough?
Might as well be.’
In the middle of the third Covid-19 lockdown, Lloyd and Tim get together virtually for a Zoom around London’s Aldersgate Street and key points north and west of Slough House, the headquarters for Mick Herron’s titular Slow Horses.
They spy on Slough House itself, uncovering countless off-the-shelf companies which might be fronts for unseen agents, but probably aren’t. Not to mention watchful owls which might be hints of a conspiracy or might just be there to scare off the pigeons.
Rummaging around in the Companies House website they find out more than they possibly should have done about Mick Herron himself, and seek to put themselves in the writer’s own shoes as he travels from Oxford to the Barbican to Moorgate via Bunhill Fields.
Then it’s off to the Islington Tunnel and the former home of a certain floppy-haired ex-Mayor of London, now denizen of 10 Downing Street, and his avatar in the book in question. Mick Herron’s somewhat spooky prescience about the course of British politics over the last decade is put to the test, and hats are doffed.
Finally, the inevitable argument about dating ensues, with a vicious disagreement over which particular England qualifying game the book is referring to, and an unwelcome reminder of the fleeting electoral successes of the British National Party.
When time and guidelines allow, we road test works of fiction that appear to be curiously specific about dates and locations. We go to the places mentioned and see if descriptions are accurate, journey times credible, dates and days all in order. Along the way, we learn things, about the book, and its author.
Sources & Credits
The Office theme – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9llfUGKW4KI
Boris and Darius – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVq7ZGlvapM&t=1148s
Boris and his gaffes – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5hyb9RzA98
Boris gets the giggles – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-5axDMdWbA
Boris makes you a cup of tea – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r799U_-jAnk
Boris and the spliff – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoJRthjdOR4&feature=youtu.be
Alexei Sayle’s London Bike Ride – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGO22mT2plc&t=334s
I’m a firm adherent of the school of Making Stuff Up – https://www.mickherron.com/qanda.html
No work being done – https://www.mickherron.com/articles/page21/page21.html
A fictional spy walk in London – https://spywrite.com/2017/09/22/fictional-spies-in-london/
Companies House – https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/
288 Companies in EC1A 4JQ, Aldersgate Street, London – https://suite.endole.co.uk/explorer/postcode/ec1a-4jq
Secret Owl Society – https://www.richardcassaro.com/uncovering-the-secret-owl-society/
Royal College of Physicians – https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/news/architecture
The Islington Tunnel – https://www.londoncanals.online/2010/01/19/londons-three-canal-tunnels-islington-tunnel/
Platform 9 and 3/4 to be disapparated- https://londonist.com/2008/07/platform_9_and_34_to_be_disapparate
Winter Test match 2008/9 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_cricket_team_in_India_in_2008%E2%80%9309
The British National Party – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_National_Party
BNP faces court case over membership rules – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/aug/24/bnp-court-case-membership-discrimination