Bright Lights, Big City.

December 22, 2009


Okay, first things first: my computer is complaining about the fact that I’m logging on from – shock horror – somewhere new, so please forgive bizarre typos, will have to publish the second I’m through writing. Provided I get tht far. Ah, technology…


London. Steaming megalosaurus, people-monster. Arrived yesterday p.m., work experience at The Sunday Paper (National ahoy!) starts tomorrow. I haven’t had time to get wound up and excited about it yet, owing in a large part to the fact that I have rather mixed feeling about London, and am attempting to overcome these before I get all caught up in my mediabubble.

It’s an exciting place, of course. For the first few chapters of my life it was the land of plays, ballets and concerts – in fact, I began to suspect at one time that the only reason ANYONE came to London was to see Bob Dylan.

More recently, it has been the land of political activity – a-to-b marches, planning meetings, climate camps and long, long hours being kettled in the banking district, facing down police lines as rumours flew around that a man had died at their hands.

For this reason, London has become more and more stressful for me as I have come to know it better. It is also huge, and faceless, and provides ample opportunity for botched meetings.

Take, for example, the last two days of my life. Me, my suitcase and my enormous basket full of Christmas things left Cambridge at twenty past two, arriving at Oval, where the kind and wonderful friends who are putting me up live, at four pm. Now I had said that I expected to arrive around five, and here I was an hour early. Not a problem, thought I. Hadn’t asked them to come and meet me, they said they would be at a friend’s around the corner from two, and to ring when I arrived. So I rang. And I rang, and I rang, and I rang. Then I sat and read the paper, and wept at the sight of the total failure that was the Hopenhagen Copout, and then, I rang again. I apologise again my love, if you are reading, for the superabundance of missed calls.

At half past five, My friend arrived full of apologies, hugs and, most importantly, the promise of a cup of tea. Not London’s fault, I hear you cry. You shouln’t’ve got there so early. She should’ve turned her phone up louder. Maybe, but where else in the country do you have TRAIN stations in the middle of nowhere without even an indoor seat? Which other UK city puts its stations so far from cafés, pubs, other sources of human comforts? London, you are cold. You do not think of human needs.

Today, a friend and I has enormous trouble meeting for lunch at P*zza Exp*ess in the South Bank. Why? Because there are THREE. All ten minutes walk from one another. I made certain to clarify that I wanted to meet at the “one near The National”. THEATRE. Not blooming design museum. Oh, what a what a nightmare. Then, attempting to liaise with my mother at Oxford circus, we came up against the perennial “my-train-is-delayed-but-one-of-us-is-MILES UNDER GROUND” situation. If we hadn’t been such patient people, we may well have abandoned hope and never made it to Oxford Street…

Oxford Street. Riddle me the, readers. WHY? I have never been anywhere so horrible horrible horrible. That said, Ma and I had a blast. Those in the city and in the mood for a giggle, I reccommend the price tags in Selfridges.


  1. King’s College carol service at the Royal Albert Hall. Sublime. Made up for Oxford street and then some.
  2. Been to see Disney’s A Christmas Carol in 3D, and enjoyed it whole-heartedly and without cynicism. I am very, very excited about 3D.


All of the above. Drawing trees. Catching up with old friends, reading actual novels.


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