I spent 25% of my time driving the 70 miles to London and 75% of my time driving the 5 miles in London. I became aware of how multi-culturally segregated the city was. I wondered who’s city it was in the first place. It’s like the city has been hi-jacked by foreign nationals who have uprooted and settled there. I read that 80% of people living in London are not British. It seems that London, whilst expensive, attracts many of the globe’s entrepreneurial business folk. That was the case in Kensington with its Classically whitewashed buildings and Gothic Puginistic Churches. But travelling there, through the suburbs I saw what some would call, the ‘real’ London; boroughs and communities of multi ethnic groups each clinging to each other in their xenophobic states. It seemed a bit of covalent bonding wouldn’t go amiss here.
Much of London’s residential area within Kensington is empty I noticed. I even walked past Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s old home. There's a placard declaring 'Sir Alfred Hitchcock lived here' and below it are signs in Arabic, perhaps advertising rooms to let. It seems that the world moves on and there are new movements and colours that daub over the old world. You can see the old world underneath these new culturally rich colourings in their old, flaked skin and rotten, wormwood eaten skin. It’s here I like to look and contrast the old with the somewhat ‘out of place’ other culture.
The organism that is London culture is a mixed, melting pot that will soon turn into a soup of race, culture, language, indistinguishable and ordinary sharing the same history. I think this will take a while to happen, but when it does everyone will wear the same shade of skin, but fiscally we will be grouped and there’ll probably be an expanding rift rather than a divergent movement to a singularity.
I walked by several drunks and without looking at them, noted how people, nonchalantly walked by. These people weren’t born drunk, nor were they drunk in their 20s I suspect. Some catastrophic event must have placed them in this predicament. Mental health is something that is endemic in this city and it’s in the eyes of a few people who mutter to themselves, to those who count the pavement steps and those who wander aimlessly. Some of these were very successful people with happy families. Now they are trapped in a city that accepts them as part of the make up of London.
Just a few thoughts on London. You don’t have to agree with what I’ve said, but it’s awakened a muse that must have awoken in Neil Gaiman when he wrote ‘Neverwhere’.