Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bumper UK edition

Try as I may to pluck out the relevant answer, I can't work out if I like London or not (anymore). I'm not sure if what I feel is nostalgia for a time gone by: that time back in April 2001 when i'd reached my Nadir (a valley as barren as a steppe and populated by deaf and mute gnomes) and I escaped from Sydney to London for a month's holiday.

Perhaps now I enjoy the contrast to Paris. For example, in London you can find loads of bars where eating is banned and drinking is turned on high (I'm convinced creative conversation withers on a full stomach).

But there are things about London that I don't like (anymore). The shops corrode everything that I find good about London. Walking along Portobello road the other day, under a sky scratched with grey and dirt, I was depressed by the constant clinking together of shops with money exchanging hands. There are too many shops. Or perhaps it is my memory which is tainted by all those weekends when I lived there with French and all we did was consume. When he pushed me into his void (or rather I willingly jumped in) and then threw a whole lot of stuff he bought on top of me: paint brushes he would never use, solar powered torches, snow umbrellas etc

I take a right off Portobello Road and ten back streets later i've seen the abodes of Victoria, George, and Edward, and patches of grass so scarce in Paris. London is beautiful again.

And then I'm horribly in love with the English, when they are nice to me, or when they speak French to me with charming aplomb. But not when they say "get out of the way woman" because there are too many people in London and no room for my jutting elbow.

We ate in a French restaurant oddly enough. My friend's stormy girlfriend came along and the dinner table was shrouded in rain clouds. I worried about whether the English waiter was a rude bastard or whether i've just forgotten the dry crackle of English humour (even though I pass most of my spare time watching English comedy re-runs).

He's just a rude bastard, my friend said. And he won't even speak French, I pouted.
And the champagne tastes suspiciously like champomy.

I guess what I can't tweeze out of me is whether if I didn't go to London every once in a while I would miss it.

I passed over fifteen pounds in a butter smeared brown paper bag to someone at Eurostar and convinced them to let me take a train home two hours earlier than I'd planned. When I was back on the train looking at my reflection in the window (for all those people who keep googling me to ask if big noses can be attractive or cute - they most certainly can!) I couldn't figure it out. Don't I love London's madness? Its work ethic? Its boozey tits on the table nights? Its crush of people from every-country? Yes I do. I love all that stuff. Why can't I stay there for more than a day anymore?

The English countryside thumped by, rabbits and squirrels at the side of the train track waved their tails, and I had a tote bag full of crumpets on my lap. And I thought, yeah I like London, a lot, in theory.