Friday, 1 August 2008

Random play: The Jam

People ask: you grew up in London? What was that like? And I'll always answer: Quiet. That's right; I grew up almost right in the centre of London, five minutes walk from The City Of London to the south, fifteen minutes walk from The West End, to the...West.

And it was a quiet part of town where I grew up; after five o' clock in the week and all weekend the surrounding parts of the city emptied; the workers went home and all that was left was the locals. These days the area I grew up in is a busy part of town, plenty of pubs and clubs and nightlife. But then we had to go elsewhere for entertainment.

What people forget or don't know, especially if they're not from here, is that London may be a city but it's a mess of small towns. And those small towns are just like small towns anywhere.

But London these days is getting more and more like one city. We're overflowing with people and the city really doesn't sleep anymore. And the more it becomes like that the less space and peace you get. I used to be able to wake up before everyone else did and go for long walks down empty streets. I can't remember the last time I was the only person on a street. It starts to close in on you after a while. Sometimes you just want to get away.

The Jam - The Place I Love


JC said...

Nice post. Words and music alike.

I remember the first time I ever went to London - it would have been 1982 and i'd have been 19 or 20. The only thing that really impressed me was the Underground as it was so different from the one in Glasgow. Everything else just seemed to be like the other northern cities that I knew so well..the idea of it being a series of towns rather than a metropolis sounds about the perfect description.

And I remember persuading my mate that we should hang around Piccadily station at midnight just so that I could imagine I was a character in a Jam song (without wanting the same gory end...)

Years later (more than 20), I realised I hadnt changed muh when I made my first and only trip to Washington DC. I persuaded my work colleague that we should take the commuter train out into the sticks, just so that I could say that I had made a visit to Rockville where I imagined I was a character in an REM song....

I do worry about my mental health sometimes.

Thanks for stirring such happy memories.

Simon said...

No probs mate. Nice response - a good little post all of it's own!

I've been to a few cities around the world, and for the most part they're all the same give or take a language or too. I've never really found myself somewhere and felt like it was completely alien, at least not where cities are concerned. Although Hong Kong was a bit..busy is an understatement!