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Prologue

I turn the key into the lock until it’s bolted, slip it into my pocket, and walk away from the door towards the street. The sky is the same hue as the asphalt of the deserted street, like I am walking on a frozen lake reflecting the stormy clouds. As I approach the Tube station, there are more and more people occupying the wet pavement. Some touches of colour show up from the wildest clothes of the magnifying crowd, gradually making the ubiquitous grey of the urban landscape recede into the background. Soon, I reach the station. I notice a great ad across the street offering a journey to Paris, which is described as the “European capital of romance and culture”. I smile – pretty proud – and nod to myself.