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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

London - a memoir

I found this in an old Word file the other day. I don't remember writing it, but it certainly still resonated.


What is it I miss so much about that city? It was frustrating, dirty, superficial and over populated. But there is a security in all these things and the belief these things will never change. Things have always been the same and will continue to be so.

I miss walking through Covent Garden and hearing an Australian inflection with a stab of pride. The street theatre and drunkenness on a rare sunny afternoon gave a feeling of comfort and wellbeing. Experiencing the claustrophobic crush upon leaving the tube station made the fresh air on the outside seem glorious and pure; all the time knowing the air was probably a carcinogen.

Drinking latte on Fulham Road gave a feeling of affluence - the clothes and lack of possessions not withstanding. Staying of the edge of the lifestyle which I would like to become accustomed. I would never assimilate of course but we could watch and see those who lead the lifestyle and feed vicariously from them. Taking tit-bits from them and their ways.

Strolling aimlessly and deciding, on impulse, to ‘get some culture’ as if it were unobtainable elsewhere. Staying at the address with the good connotations. Seeing places millions of others have seen in ages past and feeling they were somehow over rated. Finding something obscure and believing it better than all the 'sites' put together.

The feeling you fit in. Being part of a brilliant minority; transient and visible. Being someone totally different, reinventing. Liking the invented person better than who you thought you were. This is what I miss.

I don't so much remember the smog, rudeness, crowds, superficiality, cold, poor plumbing, accommodation and cuisine - although I’m aware of the contribution they made to my perception of the city. I remember me. Being me. Liking me. All because of London.
Ironically I don't think I was really any more comfortable in my skin in London than at home. Maybe less so. I was going to include a photo, but thought it best not too - primarily because I was much larger, had even less fashion sense than I do now, and was seemingly always swathed in a driz-a-bone...


Bells said...

looking back on my year in London, I think I said and wrote similar things and later came to similar conclusions as you.

But even so, even figuring that out was a good thing, I reckon.

Bells said...

ps you should post the photo.

Jejune said...

My sister and her hubby and little boy are about to return to Canberra, after living in London for about 6 years. They love it, and would go back in a heartbeat ...

And yes, let's see the photo! :)

Beth Bynnag said...

True. True.