Last weekend we were in London for a few days. Like many people I know, I have a love hate relationship with London. There are so many things to like and dislike.
I will list some:
- it’s busy and stressful
- it’s exhausting
- it’s impersonal and people are rude
- it can be dangerous and alienating
- it takes too much time to get anywhere or get anything
- its energy
- its bookshops, clothes shops, cafes, pubs, cinemas, restaurants
- its hugely diverse and innumerable people
- its exhilarating urban landscapes
- the diversity in everything
- freedom and anonymity
- its both stimulating and exhausting at the same time
While I was there I managed finally to get hold of one of Miroslav Sasek’s brilliant books, This is London. I wish I had the time to do justice to the people and sights I saw as well as he did. Sasek did a brilliant job, he is sharp, witty and informative and his illustrations deceptively simple and yet saying so much. They capture beautifully the spirit of the big city and also the detail of its places and people. Some things have changed a lot in London in the fifty years since he made the book, even in the four years since we left. Like any big city, London is constantly in flux. One thing that does remain the same however is the magnetic energy that draws all kinds of people to London. Its vibrant diversity and the feeling of being part of something big. A place of opportunity, of gold, silver and big bright shiny lights.