Wednesday, 4 December 2013

19 months and 26 days.

London has been my home for the last 19 months and 26 days; it has been the backdrop to the majority of my greatest days and nights and the setting for a handful of my biggest falls. It's the city that still amazes me on a daily basis and also the city that drives me the craziest I've ever been.

When friends ask me "why London?", it's so hard to describe why this city means everything to me. I didn't move here to see my name written in lights, because all I want  is to see my name printed below a published piece of my own writing, whether that be in a newspaper or on a restaurant menu:

London is a greasy kebab shop. 
It's the song shared between the birds and the drunks walking home at 6am.
It's a waiter, calling me ma'am one minute and then asking to 'borrow' a cigarette the next.
London is a used copy of the Metro, sat alone on an empty tube.

It's a packet of metallic green 'Extra' chewing gum.
It's a bar of Terry's Chocolate Orange, eaten in secret as you wait for friends at the train station.
London is somebody following you home at night.
London is "ten Marlboro lights...and a lighter, please"
It's a used condom in the middle of the road.
It's a window left open during the night, wide enough for passersby to hear a couple's moans of pleasure.
London is listening to that couple.

It's two grams of cocaine just to get you through the night.
London is a sleeping tablet, and a dry mouth.
London is a can of Jack Daniels and Coke bought from the newsagents.
It's drinking a shandy on a cool summer's evening.

London is eating calamari overlooking the Thames.
It's G-A-Y on a Friday night/Saturday morning.
It's "it's not you, it's me".
A conversation remembered forever.
Roasted chestnuts served along South Bank.
A homeless man sitting outside Starbucks.

Fingerless gloves and short skirts.
Two for £10 burgers at your local 'gastro-pub'.
London is playing Arctic Monkey's album on the bus at 8:43am.
It's a fishfinger sandwich with ketchup and plastic cheese.
Buses that come every ten minutes.
London is an excellent transport system (we're supposed to say that).

It's falling in love with how somebody sounds at 5am.
London is foreplay on the dancefloor of a tacky nightclub.
It's Oxford Street Marks and Spencers for tea and cake on a Saturday afternoon.
It's arguing over religion with people you've just met.
London is vodka Red Bulls just as the night is coming to a close.
An attic flat in Brixton with four strangers.

It's the greatest love story ever told.
It's the loneliest story ever told.
London is working through your lunch break.
Sainsburys 'help yourself' salads.
It's introducing food into the bedroom to spice up your sex life.
It's bowling with strangers and your best friends rolled into one.
Vietnamese food with your manager.
London is tweeting when you're waiting for your train at night.
It's K cider to start the night off.

London is exactly like Christmas Day; you wake up and everything is amazing.
You eat six mince pies in a row, all of the Malteasers and the Galaxy Caramels from a tub of 'Celebrations' (because they're the best ones) and then start working your way through a selection box before you feel sick. 
It's opening your presents, full of excitement, before realising if you didn't drink so much, you could have bought it for yourself, saving your parents a little bit of money. 
It's being grateful and feeling guilty all at the same time. 
It's hiding the annoyance on your face when you realise somebody is always going to try and top your Christmas presents.
London is going to bed at the end of the day, feeling sick from too much food and too much joy. 

London is waking up on Boxing Day, realising you have to take the rubbish out.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


(in Buddhism) a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism.
synonyms:paradise, heaven, Eden, the promised land.