Merlin & The Key Of Curiosity
My picture shows Percy Circus, a quiet, rather picturesque circus in my neighbourhood. When I wrote ‘Bryant & May On The Loose’, I invented very little about the book’s location. Even the tunnel that features at the climax is supposed to be there. The trouble is, nobody’s quite sure where.
The problem is Merlin’s Cave. It’s disappeared. I know there used to be a Merlin pub and a Merlin Street, because it came up time and again when I was researching sacrifices. Ah, I didn’t explain that part – the Penton of ‘head’ of Pentonville is so-called because of its view of the sunrise, an ideal location for sacrifice, hence the area’s long-standing mystical associations.
I was talking to someone who said he grew up in those streets, and there was definitely a Merlin Street because it’s still marked on a road stone – I just haven’t been able to find it yet. And then there are the Plum Puddings – an odd set of steps that go nowhere, they’re connected to the mystery somehow.
After that it starts to get complicated, and the story takes in Nell Gwynne’s house (now a 90 year-old lady lives on the site) and the Robin Hood legend and its connection with Aleister Crowley…
…and there it is, we’re off and running on the streets of London once more, tracking down new mysteries for Bryant & May to solve. And it’s why I can’t run out of stories, because every door holds the key to another.
But the real key is curiosity. I get worried when I meet incurious, closed-off kids who dismiss everything as boring. Yes, I suppose everything is boring if you close your mind and fail to make connections. Creativity is a giant join-the-dots game. Separately two bits of data may prove dull, but when they’re linked together you create something interesting.
A woman walks into a shop.
The shop is on fire.
Me, I’m off to find Merlin.