Ode to London.


My friend Jan has been taking me to see lots of dance pieces at Sadlers Wells of late. She’s convinced that my healing is to be done through the medium of dance. Last week I rocked up a bit late and said,  “So what are we seeing tonight?” She told me a bit about it and I think the word ‘experimental’ was used. The programme description said- ‘An evening of new work featuring three wildly different takes on intimacy, passion and the banality of love….’ I preferred Jan’s description.

She brought her friend’s daughter along too. It was amazing I must say. A bit of Drum n’ base mixed with Capoeira. And then just before the interval came the experimental piece. Five dancers stood in a line, men and women, all completely naked. One had a beard and a bun. Yep that’ll do it. They moved a bit, mostly small shuffles and hand movements but they mostly stood still, just in a line for about five minutes. We sat with raised eyebrows and dry smiles and had much to discuss at the interval. As we sat on the tube that evening heading West, I thought, surely you only see that kind of thing in London.

This city is one of the greatest loves of my life. I’m of the Samuel Johnson school of thought, always. A few weeks ago my old University mate Jenny came for a visit, she was staying with another friend in Dalston, but she hadn’t been there for years, so I told her it had changed a bit. As she left I said, “You’ll probably see a lot of bearded men in Top hats and monocles.” When I text her that evening to see if this was the case, I got the following text: “I watched two grown men roller skate down Dalston High street (at different times). One was holding a horned goat’s skull to his face-looking through the eyeholes.” Ahh London.

I love that when I’m finished getting high on the fumes from all the 4x4s in Chiswick, I can simply pop into ‘Oxygen’ in Acton for some fresh air. It’s a place, roughly the size of a football pitch where you can free jump, trampoline (they have around thirty) or brush up on your tightrope walking skills. It’s an amazing place, and very good for making you feel good.

And then there are London neighbors, surely also superior. When I moved into our home, our next-door neighbor was a very glamorous divorcee with two daughters. The youngest ended up babysitting for us over the years. During the summer her mum asked if she could spend some time living with me, as she was worried she might be up to all sorts in her absence; she wasn’t. It was such a joy having her and we stayed up chatting ’til the wee small hours. Some of the best advice and really the only bits I’ve really taken onboard are from my sixteen-year-old neighbor Maddie, and it’s working out quite well. They moved not long after, not far and we still see each other but I am lost without them.

The other night I got into my car, I felt an urge to listen to my music really loudly, and I just drove. I travelled along the river into town past Cleopatra’s needle, Sir Thomas Moore and one beautiful bridge after the next. I basked in it and it was divine. Past Roman ruins, shrines and breathtaking buildings, all solitary and majestic. The beauty was astounding. This is therapy. If anything can get me through this, it’s London.

Everyday I’m shufflin.

For Maddie, because I know how much you miss this place.


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