What I love about London is that some days I fall in love with her all over again. Today was one of those days. You see, as a Londoner it is very easy to fall into the trap of only experiencing the rat race, the stress and the inconvenience. But every now and then you have a day that makes it all worthwhile, and you remember how and why you fell into a relationship with her.
Today I did something I almost never do, and I got on a bus! This is not snobbery, this is convenience! Mostly I spend my journey time underground on a line of dark blue, and with people whom on the most part have forgotten why they are here. If you come to London just to make money, then you will never feel it’s full effect, like any other relationship it needs sturdier foundations, it needs to be appreciated and loved. It’s easy to forget, but something as small as the silhouette of a building, or a verse of Shakespeare in a pub theatre can be enough to remind me how lucky I am.
I have a tangible relationship with London. And I have to say that today, however romanticised it may seem I realised that my love of musicals is in some way linked to my love of this city that inhabits me.
“I don’t know why I am frightened, I know my way around here, the cardboard trees, the painted seas, the sound here.
There’s a world to rediscover, and I’m not in any hurry, and I need a moment”
My familiarity with London began in an instant when I met the love of my life. From that moment on, my life has been time-stamped by the places we have seen, the emotions we have felt, the impressions of our feet in the grass. And yet there is something… New and undiscovered with every step of a journey I have done a thousand times. Look up, see the buildings, taste the history, listen to the scent of hotdogs on a Saturday night.
I passed St Paul’s Cathedral today and the bells were ringing out. I thought it must have been planned that way, that today must have been the impetus for my bus journey. Me and London had aligned for this moment to exist.
“The whispered conversations, in overcrowded hallways. The atmosphere, as thrilling here as always. Feel the madness in the making, feel the early morning madness. Why, everything’s as if we never said goodbye.”
London speaks loudly, it’s bright lights in Picadilly, the scraping of metal on the tube. But London whispers too. It reminds you why you are. A single act of kindness in a rush hour uniformity, a coin dropping against the inside of a hat, expletives in a cocophony of conversation. Nowhere else can home be experienced in the pattern of the tube seating or the failure of signals.
No regrets. Living on the edge of something intangible, hope or despair just around the corner.
“I’m coming out of makeup, the lights already burning. Not long until the cameras will stop turning.”
With London I don’t have to be something that I am not. London understands me for who I am. London can pick me up and spit me out, but she doesn’t. She holds me enraptured. London is always moving, but If you can stop long enough to capture a moment in your hands and taste it, then London will be your host and welcome you if only for a second, a momentary lapse in the chaos.
“I don’t want to be alone, that’s all in the past. This worlds waited long enough, that’s all in the past.do watch me fly we all know I can do it… Could I stop my hand from shaking? Has there ever been a moment with so much to live for?”
In the big city you can never be alone. You are coupled with the Thames and the bridges that cross her. You are adorned with theatre land, sexed with soho and viewed as though from the London eye. There’s something daunting about a street unwalked, a name unmouthed, a partners hand unheld. Get giddy from love and tremble in it’s unfamiliarity. Hold it’s hand and it’s secrets.
“Isn’t it as if we never said goodbye?”