Friday, December 11, 2009

I am London


I am Nelson's Column, the 50-metre tribute of a nation of great military action and historical worth, overlooking Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the City, my domain. Surveyor of the people, symbol of the people.

I am the urine ridden underside of the great bridges, the smell of the desperation of the homeless, the cardboard cities of the hopeless.

I am the optimism, the modernity, the integration, the mangoes sold by first generation immigrants at the height of winter by the sides of the roads. The camaraderie, the joy, the group of school children pouring onto the streets after seeing Wicked.

I am the small-minded, the indifferent, the cynics, the people that deliberately bump your shoulder as you walk along the crowded streets at rush hour offering barely a grunt of acknowledgement as they scurry to or from the great Square Mile rat-race. Who knows? Who cares?

I am the stoicism, the bravery, the commuter travelling after 7/7 to oh-so-Britishly stick two fingers up at the terrorists, the last bastion of chivalry as the drunken and lost maiden cannot find her cab at night. I am the person who opens the door for you. I am the charity volunteers. I am the "Bless you" after you sneeze on the bus.

I am the survivor of the Great Fire, the Blitz, the terrorists bombings, the faint memory of a past that was not so shining and flawless.

I am the London of Love Actually.

I am the London of Sweeney Todd.

I am the last Tube, the organically alive, pleasantly tipsy and squawking post-bar crowd, the laughter, the Johnny Cash tribute busker singing Ring of Fire in your ear as you go home on the Northern Line.

I am the last night bus, the post-club crowd, the drunken, the rowdy, the retching, the reeking of McDonalds, the litter, the smell of too long a period without a shower.

I am the raw energy of youth, the 2012 Olympics, the football in Hyde Park, the joggers at Regent's Park, the arts students on Carnaby Street looking for inspiration, the galleries, the open air events, the Old Vic theatre, the National Theatre, the Globe theatre.

I am the pessimistic nay-sayer, continually poo-pooing the downfall of the great nation, the tax payer, the scribe of grumpy and lonesome Letters to the Editor, the abandoned, the forgotten.

I am the contradictory, beautiful, terrible city that gets under your skin.
I am home.

4 Response to I am London

12 December 2009 at 02:05

Wow, dude! Great writing! "I'm speechless. I have no speech!"
Seriously, really loved this. And London too...

9 January 2010 at 21:25

Wow. That's fantastic - hope you don't mind if I link from my blog (not that I have any readers, lol).

9 January 2010 at 21:44

Absolutely fine, TbR, copy it all up if you like, just namecheck me at the bottom or something :D

11 January 2010 at 03:06

Fabulous! You've characterized the many facets of London. The good, the bad and the ugly are all described with equal care and detail. :)