I’ve spent the past couple of days in other country’s capitals. I’ve spent today in my own. I return home tonight battered and bruised — metaphorically, not literally — by the impact of upturned freight trains, noise, and pedestrians regarding their phone more important than watching where they’re going.
Fuck me. London is a moronic city.
I don’t not like London. I think I probably love it. I ignore buses on the way to the train station, I smile at the couple who stand outside their front door in their dressing gown drawing on their pre-9am cigarettes. I feel reassured when I see familiar looking faces at Hither Green Station.
I love that the vibe in one area of London is noticeably different from another — a tantalising transition just a short tube ride away. I love the atmosphere of Lewisham market, love the smells of the meat markets of Peckham High Street, and beam with pride when I look across to the Isle of Dogs from Greenwich Observatory.
What’s there to moan about when you can list the things you appreciate?
It’s just that sometimes I have to look hard for things I love — the things I think I’d miss if I didn’t live here.
I’d miss the battle. What chocolate box view of middle class accomplishment would I give this up for London?
It’s not war. It’s not mining. It’s not risking life and limb. I’ve no experience of that kind of battle. Courageous, selfless people do that. It’s not sleeping rough on the street either. I live a charmed life. I have nothing to complain about.
But, there is a weird conflict in London. I can’t put my finger on it. It fascinates me. It’s what keeps me drinking wine too.