The Bricks That Built the Houses
by Kae Tempest
I am a big fan of Kae Tempest. Everything they create is brilliant: music, poetry, rap, books and plays. I’ve seen Kae perform live three times and they were fantastic every time.
This novel takes characters Tempest created in their solo album Everybody Down and their epic poem Brand New Ancients, and gives them a full story. Storytelling and character creation have always been Tempest’s strengths so I knew this would be great and I was right.
In the opening chapter young Londoners Becky, Harry and Leon are escaping the city with a suitcase full of stolen money. The narrative takes us back to when they all met each other and how that situation came about.
At a glitzy promo party for the launch of a Cool New Band’s music video, Becky is trying to look like she’s happy to be there, but in truth this isn’t her scene and she isn’t especially proud to be a dancer in the video. It’s dance work, which she’s glad to get, but she worries the longer she keeps taking these jobs, the worse her chances of joining a “real” dance company. Then across the room she spots Harry, and her night picks up.