Monday, February 16, 2009

Down to London...

So I ask you should I cry or laugh
Drinking tea in a Kings Cross caff
A leather jacket against the cold
Gone down to London turning coal into gold
Down to London - Down to London
Gone down to London to be the King

(Click on the photo of my hotel to hear more about London from Joe Jackson...)

Had a good, busy week in London. Stayed at a hotel near Oxford street, (it's the white facade in the picture, the one with black flags sticking out) all too convenient for spending money. Work was worthwhile. Spare time was spent ... shopping. And taking this in. And out to go through the craziness of Camden Market with my pal of 20+ years, Ian, and his lovely girlfriend Magali, ending up for drinks at the Horse Hospital (now a bar/art/music venue, staffed by girls in riding gear), each stall now made into it's own snug area for sitting and boozing.

Magali (French by birth, moving to the UK a number of years back) came out with one of my favorite statements EVER about cultural idiosyncrasies when we were discussing the differences between Paris and London. I paraphrase I know, but it went something like this:
"In London, people are friendly. You have the sense that you are all in the same boat. If you get into trouble, people will step in and help. In Paris, if you get into trouble, people will run away. They won't help. More likely, they will do something to make the situation worse, and then stand back and laugh." Love it.

I'll end off with a list summarizing why I *heart* London:

1) they are kind enough to put "Look Left" and "Look Right" on the roadways. There are so many squares and one way streets and general chaos that I would have been flattened many times over without it.

2) there are still cute young men doing their best to be body doubles for the Gallagher brothers.

3) that finally, after much deliberation, they have banned drinking alcohol on transit (?!?)

4) you can buy good beer at corner stores.

5) you can walk down skinny lanes flanked by the most amazing 4 story, cheek by jowl, ornate wonders.

6) the size. And diversity. And the dignified sense of ... decay.

7) that the boys are, on balance, generally prettier (and prettier is the right word) than their girlfriends.

8) the embarrassment of riches contained in this one city. Amazing.

9) I just feel...comfortable...there.

It is somewhere I would love to live for a few months. I can't imagine how that will ever happen, but I really would.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Voulez-vous aller à Paris ? Avec moi.