My initial vigour, when I first arrived, in exploring this enormous city, was quelled slightly by personal faff which unsurprisingly went awry, and means that lately I’m feeling quite a lot like I did back in January, except this time my excitement and enthusiasm for London is considerably less, and is no longer shared by my friends who have spent the last six months getting to grips with it all. They know which way is up.
But I suspect that my feelings towards London are inextricably linked to my feelings about all the other banal actualities of my life: being skint; trying to make a go of self-employment; my (ridiculous) love-life, and so on. I think I’m fickle like that. I remember living in Cardiff with huge amounts of fondness, because life was good at the time. Yet I do recall feeling claustrophobic and stifled while I was there. I remember my third year uni digs with happy nostalgia because I’ve so many good memories of the place, and yet in reality the house was a crapshack and I spent a lot of time feeling worried and scared about the future.
And yet on Saturday night I spent a long time defending Bristol – the city I essentially fled six months ago – to a man who’d been there a couple of times and didn’t think particularly highly of it. For as long as I was living there, I wasn’t that fussed on the place. Granted, it has everything you could want and is very beautiful indeed, but I was always a bit ‘meh’ about it all. And now there I was defending it ardently.
I am a rose-tinted spectacle wearer, no doubt about it. Which is why last night, as I was watching Pride and Prejudice with a room full of girls (and one of their terrified boyfriends), I had a moment where I very seriously contemplated moving back home to the ‘Shire. Everything’s so much simpler there, I thought wistfully. The air’s fresh and green space isn’t bordered by roaring traffic, and I’m not subjected to the banalities of millions of unstoppable morons on a daily basis, and men are men and don’t wear moccasins with rolled-up chinos and I can get a bottle of rosé from a pub and have change from a tenner… and all the rest of it.
Yes, the air is fresh and there’s unscathed green space as far as the eye can see, but that’s why you have to drive for half an hour to get a pint of milk. And the unstoppable morons are fewer, yes, but they’re just more unstoppable. And the men are more manly, but they also can’t speak coherently and for the most part have the intellectual prowess of a potato, of which they eat a lot, hence the ruddy complexion. Mr Darcys they are most certainly not.
So, with renewed enthusiasm, let’s try it again. Come at me, London (but if you could give me a bottle of rosé with change from a tenner, that’ll help things along nicely).