Tuesday, 6 June 2017

London loves

I've been thinking about that there London this week. Five years since I've lived there, and maybe it feels a little less like my home than it used to, but not that much.

Here's a photo I took of the Shard rising up behind The Tower of London - I'm crap at photos, but you get the point ...

I quickly wrote the following about London this week ... sometimes it doesn't feel like it, but London gives back what you put into it.


When London loves back,
The glow of centuries’ labour
Sparks ten million hearts
On a summer evening.

London, from on high, is all
Parks, hospitals, football grounds, churches,
Dotted with oddities
Of architects ancient & modern,
Ringing with ghostly choirs of
Filth & fury.

No city's so unplanned
And fantastical, purer
Than symmetry, with so many
Centres and shelters from the storm.

London, on a good day, is
Six hundred square miles
Of festival, is
Six hundred square miles
Of everything in the whole world.

London lies dormant,
Then bubbles with hopes,
Simmers with ridiculous clashes
Of untameable tribes,
Of sacred and profane,
Lost in lucre, envy and both.

Even tube trains come alive sometimes,
Embarrassed to look up
Then wild-eyed and glorious
Like a karaoke booth,

When London loves back,
A hipster’s allowed to be
just another lost boy
Who’ll wait his turn
For a fair price,

Raise his lips to the sky
On a riverside path
And breathe his own air
For a second,
And it’s cool.

London, fresh with Fuller’s,
Feels safer than any statistic
Or any sadistic prick
Can ever tell you otherwise,
Feels like every freedman’s fiefdom.

No other city contains so many towns,
defending their own honour,
nor hides so many battles raging
A few layers beneath,

No city so Irish or Polish
Or Ghanaian or French
Or whatever you are, whatever you want to be,
No city so godless
Or ecumenical.

No other city feigns indifference
Quite so democratically
But loves you back sometimes,
And lights up your heart.

No exile from London
Doesn’t, once in a while,
Wake awash with the sounds and the smells
Of the permanent city
And smile a prodigal smile.

I can tell, when I hurry back,
Assume my London glare, my London shuffle,
My home’s not
Forgotten me and my
Vain attempts to measure it,
I can tell it knows it owns me
And I owe it still, and always.


And here's a playlist about London, but the joy of London ...

Upfield – Billy Bragg
London – Benjamin Clementine
Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks
Galang - MIA
London Pride - Noel Coward
Up the Junction – Squeeze
In the City – The Jam
Itchycoo Park – The Small Faces
The Sights and Sounds of London Town - Richard Thompson
For Tomorrow – Blur
Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant
Rudie Can’t Fail – The Clash
Trams of Old London - Robyn Hitchcock 
A Rainy Night in Soho – The Pogues
Brompton Oratory – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
22 Grand Job – The Rakes
Blue Piccadilly - The Feeling
Dreamy Days – Roots Manuva
At the Chime of a City Clock – Nick Drake
Time for Heroes – The Libertines

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