Woke up, it was …

23/06/2012 at 23:29 (Personal) ()

… almost Chelsea, but I didn’t make it that far.

Another trip to the Big Smoke. The older I get, the further I retreat from the romantic ideas surrounding this place, the ones that haunted me as a child.

Your first visits to London are peppered with early concepts of glamour, the silvery shine and gold windows, the shivering flow of forms that make you clap your hands and want more, such giddy relief found in the sugar of life.

Hitting Camden is like taking a toke on your older sister’s spliff. You can’t stand it at first. Then you can’t forget it.

My eyes meet the flat, wet ones of the tramp slumped on the pavement, back to a stone wall he can’t afford, which helps prop up his spine. The rich reach down to the poor with their fingertips. I see mange creeping up his face, the woollen hat, the cold locking up his bones … and I feel a modicum of his pain. I know the sorrow, the regret burying deeper every day like a worm. And my heart contracts with the fear that one day, I will be down there with him.

How far must we fall before we hit the ground – and even then, do we keep going? How far down. I went close, almost hit it.

You see the dark corners, the dirt. The litter bombs, the scrabbling pale hands lurking on every street, waiting to pluck up bones and bags and spare change thrown. You find your eyes look less to the towers and skyscrapers; they travel down to the real face of the world.

I like to imagine that London makes me come home with more empathy. It’s hard to get the grime from under your nails.

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