Doubting Thomas

This choose-your-own-adventure zine is based on an encounter I had at the reopening of the Moorings Social Club in Thamesmead, south east London, in 2022. The Moorings Social Club had been popular when it first opened in 1976 but was closed down in 2005 after becoming seen (like much of Thamesmead) as a bad place to be.

BUT NOW IT WAS BACK! Money for the refurbishment had come in from City Hall and Peabody (who manage the area’s community centres as well as its housing). There’d been loads of community consultation and even an artist-in-residence.

So when I went to the reopening, I was expecting to hear all about how AMAZING it was (which I definitely did) but then I got chatting to the grown-up son of a woman I’d met gardening. He talked about how it felt to be back in a place he’d loved in his youth, about how his life had gone wrong since the Club’s closure and about how sceptical he was for its future.

It didn’t feel the kind of conversation we were supposed to be having at this celebratory event but it made a lot of sense. I didn’t ask him his name but DOUBTING THOMAS seemed fitting, what with the Moorings Social Club having apparently come BACK FROM THE DEAD.

This zine invites you to take on the role of DOUBTING THOMAS in the days leading up to the reopening of the Moorings Social Club. Choose between different scenarios and see how your choices affect your experience of the reopening day. CHOOSE WISELY- there are 4 DIFFERENT ENDINGS!

I’ve made this map of all the possible “routes” through the story that readers can choose! I’m going to ask readers to mark which route they take by adding a sticker to the map. Thanks to Marcus Orlandi for all his professional banner-making skills and assistance!