Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Abstractboy is Scottish, generally. He was born there and lived there for the best part of his life; the Teenage Years. He lived in Edinburgh, which is definitely the best part of Scotland. Definitely. Unless you like going to gigs, in which case Glasgow is the best part of Scotland. But luckily there was, and still is, CityLink, which isn't even owned by nasty Brian Souter's Stagecoach company.
But anyway, abstractboy is now a Londoner. This is something that is often frowned upon when one travels north of the Watford Gap. He cannot be without the buzz, the fast cars, the fast walking pace (as an adolescent his fast walking pace was always labeled 'competitive'), the commuters cramming into Warren Street station at 5.30pm, the blitzkrieg that is Tottenham Court Road. It's all so fast. But that's how he likes it.
Nothing beats the feeling of returning to London. The train ride in. The 30s semi-detached suburbs slowly but surely evolve into those dirty brown brick terraced houses. Then there are the gas towers, ugly and striking. And then you see Alexandra Palace. Nestled on that hill, overlooking the city from a safe distance. There are still poplar trees and greenery. Zone 3. Next is the Highbury, the Arsenal stadium. Zone 2 and counting. The train crosses bridges. For brief moments you can see the hustlebustle underneath, those Londoners and their lives, the fast food chicken outlets, non-brand. And then darkness. Ears pop. Jaw stretches, trying to un-pop them. And Zone 1. Kings Cross.
It starts just like that, as soon as you leave the train. The power walking from Coach C (where all the cheap tickets are) to the end of the platform, avoiding families with small children and old ladies, not quite sure of themselves in The Big City. And then on to Euston Road. The immersion is instant, there is thick pollution, horns beeping, road works, one way systems, projects projects projects. There are always cranes in the sky, always men working, always changes.
Abstractboy likes some things to stay the same. But everything else, he likes it fresh and new. He likes London. Lots.