Every so often we’re all asked to look inward and make peace with our values, before expressing the result of that concord privately in the shape of a cross, marked within a box. Voting is equal parts complex and simply wonderful; as easily an expression of engagement and approbation as it is a protest against all the rules that govern us. It’s a small acknowledgment of power. It’s a public service. This year that box seemed to weigh heavily with the secret to our collective identity. The majority reached in and pulled shut a gate that closed us off from our neighbours. The minority, feeling betrayed, wondered whether they weren’t better off on the outside looking in at a country they, ironically, suddenly struggled to recognise. 

Smoke and Tales exists to reflect the realities of what it means to call a city home. The fabric of our home is made up of the basic understanding that anyone, within the confines of basic decency, is free to bring along whatever wonders and delights they can think of and, together, we will share in them. For this reason, we have chosen to dedicate Issue Four to the concept of living among others — the accepted reality that, over time, diversity offers more than anyone can ever claim it steals. 

The words within our Thoughts section express just that. Rich Williams discovers a sliver of communality within the bustle of southeast London. Dan Lee examines the promise of opportunity and diversity, while Laura Lumley questions her friend’s desires to ever leave. Alex Taylor returns to decry the loss of Fabric, a London landmark that welcomed many from far and wide.

From HQ, Dipo Faloyin brings to life the absurdity of an independent London, while Tom Owen asks what lessons we might learn from the other greatest city in the world, New York.

Once again our Tales section is packed with creative pieces of writing. We introduce a new series, 'Millennials of…' a parody of young angst and poor reasoning – this issue, of course, they are holding forth on Brexit. Extremely funny man, Tom Taylor, has given us another fantastic short story on the art of persuasion. And we end with Adam Chociemski, who receives an unprecedented invitation.

Voting is about a choice. We welcome and thank you for your choosing to remain with us. If you are here for the fourth time, you know where the snacks are. If this is your first visit, please step this way.

Dipo Faloyin and Tom Owen