Sayings of the Urban Fathers and Mothers
I wrote these stor ies when I was living in Hackney, East London. Life was quite hard. My health was poor, I was re-evaluating my career and I was beginning to recognize that I needed to leave London which had been my home for twenty years. It was a place I had grown to love: its estates, its religions, its shabby backstreets, its people from all over the world. Then I discovered the ‘old men’, the Egyptian Desert Fathers and Mothers of the fourth and fifth centuries. They entranced me. So every day before starting work I would translate one of their sayings into the context I knew: the urban wilderness that is Babylondon (a Rastaf arian ter m for London). Reading these reworkings again after ten years I found they made me cry and realized they were a love letter to the London I knew, and a hymn of gratitude to the ‘old men’ who saved my life.