London, A Guest Post by Jaclyn
My first week in London I saw someone pee publicly, it wasn’t at some odd hour of the morning, nothing between the hours of 8:30pm and 8:30am and they weren’t hidden down some alleyway or behind a shielding shrub, they were just walking in front of me and then suddenly pulled off to the side of the foot path for a pit stop, or a pee stop, if you will. That’s London. If you don’t want to get up close and personal with people, move anywhere outside a twenty mile radius of London but not one foot inside it. English stoicism doesn’t exist here….maybe in the Palace….but who gives a fuck what goes on in the Palace?!
I came to London really wanting to experience it. I didn’t want the usual, three days before jumping the Eurostar to Paris, experience. I wanted to get to know the city. Maybe in finding the city, I could find me in the process. I’m still lacking a revelation.
My first cousin once removed gave me a book; books being the medium through which I interpret the world, you might say I wear literary coloured glasses. Tired of London. Tired of life. It’s a full calendar year with something to investigate in the city each day: Brick Lane Markets, Milkshack Cafe in Soho, the annual New Year’s Day Parade. Most people would go to a bar and meet people, make friends and venture out with them; but as someone who learnt social interaction through the course of reading Jane Austen novels, there’s always something stilted and not quite at ease about me in regular society. So I keep my head in my book. Besides what are the odds of someone I meet in a bar knowing about the annual blessing of the Thames?
I’ve only seen a week of London Summer, that’s how quickly the seasons change here. It’s like a back drop of film set August 31st = summer and twenty five degrees, people in deck chairs in the park, ice cream and shorts. September 1st comes around and suddenly the weathers dropped ten degrees and the suns fucked off to Florida. I’m awaiting the Spring.
The streets are atmospheric and caked with two thousand years worth of grime and history – and it’s a history they’re clinging to. They wear it like a waistcoat, out for all to see, wrapped around them and close to the heart. While the rest of the world is becoming so ridiculously colour suckingly homogenised it’s nice that London is still a character in itself. Five months in and I don’t think I’m really here yet, it’s still a novelty, a Grims Fairy Tale land of Gothic buildings and crawling fog. The people seem like characters and the danger always just a little removed. Going home will be like waking up.