There was an interstice of tranquillity in South London called Nunhead. In between the grey droll of Queen's Road and the pastures of East Dulwich, it bore witness to the affluence beyond Peckham Rye Common in the form of a band of white sunlight on the horizon, delicately fixed above the grass as a mirage. That East Dulwich appeared so far away, beyond the turbulent common, was almost poetic, and the Nunhead-dwellers became omnipotent observers of the cultural battle that enfolded upon the emerald waters. As gentrification and regeneration swarmed the city, a new Armada emerged, fortified with pizza shops, cafes and folk festivals. Protests bolstered the other side, and it was a constant struggle to see who could stake territorial claim on the common.
The police was the deciding factor: how they responded to either party determined the victors. Nunhead was forgotten about, an amalgamation of rich and poor, with its own struggles and losses, until it was engulfed by fire. Great licks of orange ribbon shot into the sky, spluttering bile and ash. An abnormal summer fuelled the hot cigarette ashes left in a bin on Nunhead Green, and very quickly the sparks spread over to the nearby pub, its quaintly thatched roof disappearing almost instantly. Walls of fire sprung from nowhere, pouring over houses, shattering glass. Humans ran two ways; Queens Road, or onto the common. Depending on where they went, the councils severed them; Lewisham taking up the former, and Southwark whisking away the latter. A new band of refugees descended upon Peckahm: the forgotten Nunhead population.
And then the world knew.