I’d like you all to do me a favour, and take a walk with me, in your minds eye. It’s a bit tricky, but have a go. Think of London, seen from the air – a straight-down, satellite view. Now, lay the tube map across it. Don’t worry about mapping the lines to their correct geographical points – the stylised map is fine. Hold them both together in your head – reality, and the version of London that exists only in concept, but is travelled by millions every day.
Fade reality out. Step through, into this real and concrete plane of concept. Look around. Somwhere around here, there’s a woman called Augusta. You can call her August, though. She doesn’t stand on ceremony, and it’s been a long time since most people thought of her as Augusta. I’m not going to tell you what she looks like. You have to make up your own mind about that. She’s older than empires, but still fresh and new. She’s been though hardships and seen great glories, and she’s bigger than any of us. She’s London, given flesh and form in your mind.
Now do something for me.
Tell her I said “Thank you.”