Northbrook Avenue

 Can Fish Masturbate?

Luke Hall

“Mr Frodo!” The hobbit runs, his hairy bare feet scampering through the blades of damp grass. “Mr. Frodo, sir!”  In his hand he clutches a map, swinging it in the air as he makes his way up a tree-laden road. If you can picture this scene with a setting of glorious sunshine, then you’re halfway there to getting an idea of what Northbrook Avenue is like. It sits atop a hill overlooking the vast forest landscape with roads that splinter off in all directions.  What makes this particular place interesting is that despite its town and forest setting, it doesn’t fall victim to the architectural cliché of piling quaint cottage after cottage between the vast surplus of oak.

A quick walk up one the numerous roads reveal more houses owned by the bohemian intelligentsia. Its eclectic mix of architecture clashing in a lustful tryst with art and aesthetics. Some houses were restrained, playing it safe with a red brick arrangement, leaving it to the tropical front garden to showcase its colour and panache. Other houses took bigger risks, making bold moves to stand out from the already exuberant herd. On the edge of the road sat a house that had done away with the been-there-done-that brickwork. It sat covered in sandstone, and was tattooed with reeds that spilled up the walls as if trying to pull the entire building beneath the earth.


I discovered that Northbrook had one final jack up its collar.  The St. Giles viewpoint has made itself into a tourist hotspot due to its sweeping landscape views from the hilltop. You could see the busier life of larger towns in the distance; people rushing about on their morning commute in cars far too big, on roads far too small. As I stood, admiring the panoramic sights, information plaques were closing in. Sadly, my experience was cut short, as the weather, intent on lashing my body,  subdued me like a gimp in a dungeon.

But on the sun’s encore, I sat down on a bench, facing the avenue. I had one last moment to soak up the rich, but exclusive, atmosphere. It was as I took my lighter picture, that I noticed a doodle on the corner of the seat. It was barely legible but highlighted the inner anarchist of the artistic intelligentsia. “Can Fish Masturbate?”  And it was a thought that plagued my mind long after I left.




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