This morning, i strapped my two-year-old daughter into her stroller and walked her to the toddlers" art club at our local community center. A town planner might raise an eyebrow at the mechanic"s yard, piled high with wrecks, at the end of a row of terraced houses. A sociologist might draw your attention to the betting shops and massage parlors, or the pool of dried-up vomit in the gutter outside our local bar. A novelist might linger descriptively on the bunch of dead flowers, bleached and desiccated in the bright june sunshine; they were propped forlornly against the wall of a notorious nightclub, commemorating a young man who was recently shot dead. You might think that my mind would be elsewhere, thinking about stock markets or inflation figures, but if so, you"d be mistaken. I notice the gamblers and the call girls, the drinkers and the gangs. I just see them in a different light.