Saturday, October 22, 2005

the bitch is back.

the bitch is back...
samuel johnson said 'when a man is tired of london, he is tired of life'. now, he also said some fairly trippy stuff about dogs walking on their hind legs, and amused himself by inserting joke definitions into his dictionary, so I am minded to ignore him....

Except. I'm finally back, and by god, I love London. I love the grubbiness, the infinite variety. Dammit, I'm even feeling well-disposed towards the Northern Line - that's how happy I am.

While I've been away, I waxed all nostalgic about London at least twice a week. I even went so far as to buy a book of parodies, where great poems had been rewritten to be about the tube.... (including: "They fuck you up, the Northern line trains," which, although lacking any respect for scansion, is pretty good).

But now I'm back, the jar between London in idea and London in reality has to be confronted. The one who captures my problem best is Will Self, in the 'emotional geography of London' he wrote for Granta:

"The faux villages of London - the tiny zones around friends' houses, or known haunts - spread over a grey waste of overpopulation, strung out along ribbon developments of short-term memory...

"Even ten years ago, and certainly fifteen, I patrol central London and still avoid my past self when I saw him coming in the opposite direction. I could take alternative routes to avoid the districts of failed love affairs, I knew short-cuts that would circumvent the neighbourhood of an abandoned friendship. But now the city is filled with narratives..."

I feel this already - parts of London are already tinted with remembrance. Angel will always be university, journalism, becoming a responsible adult; London Bridge will always be Saturday mornings at Borough Market, laughing, muffled against the cold; and Lambeth and Holloway will always sting with the failure of their respective relationships. But I like my London compartmentalised, manageable; I don't want the memories to bleed into one another.

I don't suspect I have much choice in the matter, though...


Blogger hangthedj said...

Funny how memories stick to things such as songs or places. I felt it yesterday when I went past Kings Cross on the bus, scene of my famous dumping. I hadn't thought about it for a while but I suppose it must have always been there in the back of my mind. But then there are also fab memories associated with places. Like Canada Water and having your best friend back from the underbelly of the North.

10/25/2005 11:16 am  
Blogger galatea said...

aw, that's so sweet i am (for once) going to refrain from saying something immature and sarcastic.

10/27/2005 2:22 pm  

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