The thing about London is that she breathes. With each new breath, people are sucked into her feistiness and on the exhale others are cast away. She is highly addictive and beautiful on her good days, when the streets shine with possibility and reward. Pubs and clubs and cafes spilling with her wards, laughing and crying, talking and loving, she makes them feel invincible and alive. On her bad days, she pounds you, throwing into your route every ugly thing you could ever see. There is greyness and sickness and poverty and addiction and sadness and wealth and greed and excess and people, oh so many people, saturated and surly. She offers up to you in her palms every extreme to dine upon. You can have your highest and best times here and other times she squashes you underfoot.
Her different dresses can enthral you for days, you can see the buildings of our ancestors and the graffiti of our children, sit and watch her life blood, the Thames, from a million different angles. She has something for every person you want to be, the artist in North London, the hipster in East. In Soho you sit in the bars on the street, marvelling at the pantomime of life there, in Westminster you breathe in the power on the air. The privileged middle-classes of Fulham and Clapham are life in a sepia tone.
You can travel the world in a day and hear a thousand different languages on the bus. Eat anything you want at every time of day.
She's bashful too is London - unlike her American cousin, the wonderful New York - often her treasures are offered to you with a shrug. Yes, I can do that for you... But don't tell everybody now.
The tourists are present in droves, but they just make you feel proud that she is yours, for now.
The view from Waterloo bridge, might be your favourite in the world.
She's your lover, your parent, your cruel boss, your best friend.
Sometimes she hides the stars from you, wanting you to see her, only.
Sirens are her soundtrack, with bars of aeroplanes, occasional dogs and indiscriminate music pouring from every corner.
Even the rats love her most of all. For now she is yours and you hold her to your breast, you put up with the mood swings, the tantrums, the tears. For when she laughs, it is the best sound you have ever heard.
This post first appeared on my old blog in May 2015.