The West Enders: Episode Four

We last left Midge and Sam in passionate embrace and since enough time has passed for their subsequent activities to remain discreet, I think we can pick up the next morning and see how things are going between them.

sg208302-version-2It looks as if they had a pleasant night together since they are now playing in the snow in the garden along with Sasha Sherwood, Midge’s younger sister. She looks a bit terrified at the sight of her older sister and her new boyfriend throwing snowballs over her head. Midge has had the care of Sasha since their parents died a few years ago. While the Christmas season in the doll house is quite secular, focussing on Santa Claus, shared meals and sweets, it presents a problem for Midge, whose parents were adamant that their children be raised as Jews. Midge, although not religious, is determined to make sure that she honours her parents’ wishes and that Sasha retains her Jewish identity. She has even ordered a beautifully crafted menorah from Israel for Hanukkah. She just worries whether it will arrive in time. The fact that Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukah are on the same day is almost a relief as it means that she and Sasha can have their own special celebration while the rest of the children wait for Santa. The fact that Sam is not Jewish would have upset her parents so despite missing them desperately around important holidays like Rosh Hashanah and Passover, Midge is glad she doesn’t have to explain her relationship to them.

sg208288The Lamb-Cuthbertson family also love to be outside in the snow. Lara Lamb is the local GP at the Medical Centre. Her husband Josh Cuthbertson is a singer and songwriter. They have two daughters, Lottie and Alexandra, who could not be more different. Alexandra is very like her parents – calm, serene, and not easily ruffled. Lottie is unlike both her parents in being exuberant and emotional – “bouncing off walls,” as they say. She loves sport and is hardly ever still. Sometimes Lara and Josh laugh and say that the fairies switched their real daughter with Lottie at birth –  she’s a changeling. They adore her, however, and wouldn’t trade her back for the world.

sg208291The last group of characters I need to introduce are the band – Luna and the Dolls – and their friends. Luna is Merida’s sister and is the lead singer. Robin B. Gee is the drummer in the back and to either side of Luna are Dexter Delaval on bass and Jake Blake on guitar. Dexter and Jake are quite young – just eighteen – and are still at school. They attend Sixth Form at one of the local schools. Although under a lot of pressure from their parents to go to university, they are bewitched by the idea of going on the road with Luna and becoming stars. They’re sure they’re going to make it. Dexter comes from a “posh” Northumberland family while Jake is a working class Geordie lad, but they are best friends and inseparable.

sg208297Both Dexter and Jake have found love with fellow students from abroad. Jake’s girlfriend is Jenny Takara, from Japan, on the left, while Dexter’s is Kurhn Lee, from China, on the right. Jenny and Kurhn are also best friends and inseparable so the four of them are together constantly. Jenny has always planned to go to university to do dentistry and has done work experience with Esmée, but lately she’s found a new passion in photography and wonders if she should do an art course of some sort instead. Kurhn’s parents have very high expectations of her. She is doing all the courses required to go to medical school but she hates the idea. She wants to be a singer. She’s sure that she could be the next Chinese pop star if only she didn’t have to waste so much time on biology, chemistry and maths. She and Jenny love the fact that their boyfriends are “in a band.” Unfortunately, they aren’t old enough to be able to accompany them to most gigs, as neither has turned 18 yet.

sg208298

Marcelo Bambolini is our next character to meet. Marcelo is a Brazilian of Italian ancestry and is the manager of Luna and the Dolls. He is a taciturn loner, puzzling everyone who meets him. Nobody is quite sure what his relationship with Luna is. They don’t seem to be a couple, but he seems very protective of her. Rumour has it that he and Charlotte Armstrong were once engaged when they worked together in the Barbie Agency, but that Marcelo’s frequent infidelities drove her to end their relationship. Apparently he has never recovered and tries to rekindle the romance from time to time, never with any luck.

sg208294Momoko Moto and Ryan Williams are two young people passionately in love. Momoko is a university student from Japan, best friends with Yuki Yukimura, who we met in the last episode. She’s studying fashion design. Ryan is an interesting character. After finishing university, he felt a bit lost and went began wandering around the world trying to figure out what to do with himself. He discovered Tibetan Buddhism and meditation and became certain that this was his path. He took refuge with the Buddha and then spent some time in Scotland at Kagyu Samye Ling monastery and Buddhist Centre. He was convinced that he should become a monk but at the last minute, decided to take one more trip into the secular world and travelled to Newcastle. There he met Momoko. It was love at first sight for both of them. Ryan has had a difficult time getting his head around his feelings – from almost monk to lover seems pretty daunting to him. He’s had some long talks with Mira about the Buddhist view of sex and marriage. So far, he and Momoko have a chaste but loving relationship. But the passionate desire between them is hard to ignore.

With these introductions almost complete, we’ll start to look into the relationship dynamics of our characters in the next episode. We’re hoping that two more dolls will be joining the house before the new year.

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