I only lived in London for half a year, but it’s one of my favorite places in the world and it will always feel like a home to me.

I was there in the beginning of 2005, only a few months after the reelection of the dreaded George W., and I remember thinking that compared to America, England felt like the sanest place in the universe. During our orientation, a member of the House of Lords came and told us about the way things worked in the UK: police without guns, pickpocketing but very little violent crime, government-funded higher education and healthcare, and a Prime Minister who must regularly defend his actions to the Parliament and the people. And most of all, a reasonable, educated populace who took an interest in the world around them. I know I was only stopping through and can’t speak as someone who actually grew up in the UK, but these were the impressions that I got during my time there.

When shit goes down in London, I feel a pang for it the same way I’d feel for any place I lived, the same way I’d feel about something that happened in my own country. Which brings me to the recent riots. I have far from a full understanding of them, but there’s something so fundamentally horrible about it all. A city that seemed to me one of the most reasonable and enlightened in the world, for all its problems and failings, for all its long history of unrest, devolving at such a rapid rate.

Honestly, what is wrong with people? Why do people suck? This whole mob mentality thing is seriously fucked up. Of course it also sounds like there’s some seriously legit sociopolitical beef behind all of this, but that doesn’t undo the fact that this kind of reaction is not the way to work through issues. Are human beings honestly just barbarians two layers below the skin? Does society fall away that easily?

Half-formed thoughts, I know. Just had to get this out.

Listening to: “Rubber Ring” – The Smiths

The weather today (rainy, gray, not too cold) reminds me a lot of London in the winter. I was thinking of London today, how sort of aimless, cash-strapped, seeing lots of plays, drinking lots of beer, I was when I was living there–and it reminded me a lot of now. Oh, how life runs in loops.

Anyway, thinking of that time and that place, I ran across this video:

When I was there, I spent a whole lot of time just wandering the city, looking for weird little bits of historical shrapnel and back entrances to hidden places. The Shunt Vaults, which are mentioned in the video, is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. Trippy performance art and tequila shots in old wine cellars under the London Bridge. One of the things I really love about London is how much history is piled on top of other history, how many and old stories you can find just by ducking down a side street. It’s something I really want to poke into in World’s End, once I get up and cracking on that project again.

Blargh. Time to keep searching for gainful employment. Got an interview at Starbucks next week, yup yup.

Somehow this wasn’t where I pictured I’d be three years outta school. Oh, younger self, if you only knew.

…….

In case you haven’t heard, journalism is getting wicked dead. I’m torn between wanting the Globe to hang in there and wanting them to get scared so witless, they actually morph into a decent newspaper. Let’s not talk about possibility number 3 just yet…

Listening to: “Boys of Melody” – The Hidden Cameras

I have to say–I’ve had some pretty bad writer’s block in my day. But this? Dude, this is just bad. An entire weekend spent staring hopelessly at my computer screen. I wonder if my mood’s brushing off on Tucker. Writers are supposed to have cats, aren’t they? That kind of curl around their typewriters and gaze artfully out the window, calling to the muses.

Eh, fuck cats. Even if Tucker doesn’t understand my writer’s block, he can empathize. If that isn’t a gaze of brute intelligence, I don’t know what is:Brute intelligence

So last night I tried booze to fuel my creativity–didn’t do the trick. Tonight, I’m trying tea. Doesn’t seem to be helping either. Maybe I’ll go back to booze.

I finally came up with a title for my apocalypse party story: World’s End. Don’t know why it never occurred to me before. I had already decided that Alex and Ned live in North London, so it was a quick leap to the World’s End neighborhood in Enfield–London’s northernmost borough. Wish I had patron like in olden times; then I could fly to England to check out the area and write it off as a “research trip.”

I know what the story needs is an upping of the drama; but I sort of think the reason Alex lasts for so long is because he flies under the radar, stays apathetic, avoids drama. ‘Course when you get bit by a zombie, no matter how small a zombie, the remaining hours of your life are bound to take on a different color.

I like the idea of “fact” and “fiction” blurring in the apocalyptic world. Goes back to that whole Philip Pullman theory about storytelling as a sort of religion–or a moral code anyhow. Or something. I could never put it as eloquently as he does. Where’s Professor Flesch when you need him?

Did I have a point? Oh yes, the man in Mile End who may or may not have become a black hole. One of those stories. New myths. Linking, perhaps, with the old myths Alex’s grandfather told him about the hidden worlds and layers of history beneath London.

“The heart of modern London contains a vast clandestine underworld of tunnels, telephone exchanges, nuclear bunkers and control centres… [s]ome of which are well documented, but the existence of others can be surmised only from careful scrutiny of government reports and accounts and occassional accidental disclosures reported in the news media.”
~ Anthony Clayton, Subterranean City: Beneath the Streets of London

Ooo speaking of… just did a bit of poking and found this website about London’s abandoned Tube stations.

Camden catacombs

Alright, now I’m getting inspired! Just not to do the work I’m supposed to be doing.

I wish I could draw. Better, I mean. Sometimes words stop working well. <—- [like just there]