I can never say it enough: I love London. I love the nightlife, I love the tube, I love the shops and the crowds, I love the history, all of it. But what I love most today is, well, it’s intangible. Let me try and explain the moment for you, expanded from my notes. I’d have taken a photo, but I had cunningly left my camera in the office, for no good reason. Anyway:
“A London sky moment. Dead-ice grey, agitated by the high wind. I’m sitting on a bench by the Thames, in a little concrete courtyard surrounded by office space, out of the way, enjoying my lunch in an oasis of quiet. One of those little places that no-one knows about, a single tree winter-bare, the only concession to nature amid the flagstone and steel rails. The wind is biting, snapping my long coat and hair about, as I stare across the Thames at a construction site, high-rise going up, old buildings coming down, watching the waves whipped up by the gusts break against the wall on the far side. My MP3 player, on random shuffle, seems to tune in to the mood, playing “London Calling” by The Clash, following it with “Haunted” by Shane MacGowan and Sinead O’Connor, and topping it off with “Dead Beats” by The Paradise Motel.”
Now, here’s the bit that you might have trouble following: In another city, or to another person, that would be dull, bleak, even depressing. Not in London. In London, to me, that’s a moment like a living, breathing thing, wonderful and dancing with magic. I have a grin from ear to ear, right now.