Postcard - London Revisited
November 2000©Nigel Spiers
We are descending through dabs of fluffy clouds into Los Angeles en route
to London. As we glide over endless miles of bland suburbia I am reading
the concluding pages of Michael Connelly's latest page turner. His hero -
Harry Bosch sums it up best when he says what depresses me most about Los
Angeles are the signs on the front lawns - "Armed Response". Thank god I
am just passing through.
It's day one in London and I find my one square foot of space on the tube at
Kings Cross. As the train moves off I reach up to grab the rail to find
myself eye to eye with the most flawless complexion. That peaches and
cream you only find in England. As the train lurches we are thrown
together - see that wasn't so bad was it Nigel? Londoners don't complain
at all about the heaving, sweating, overcrowded underground which makes
you wonder if they don't enjoy it in a peverse English way. As the world's
most congenitally distant race maybe this is their daily dose of team
I go through France, around the Al Garve, skirt Armenia, on past Sri Lanka
and across Namibia - yes it's also day one of The World Travel Mart at the
Earls Court exhibition centre. What a buzz - like going to work on LSD.
It's now official - the British Meteorological service has confirmed that
a ray of sunshine was spotted over London this morning. Sunday afternoon
and it's raining again so I think I'll get out the brolley and go to The
National Portrait Gallery. You can tell it's Xmas time again in London
because Selfridges have put up their famous decorations, more than 50% of
the tube escalators are out of action and Leceister Square is awash with
chunder. Of course if you were to drink a couple of pints of Baccardi &
Coke and a few Creme De Menthe chassers through a straw you may also leave
most of it on the pavement. The 101 Portrait Masterpieces of the 20th
Century exhibition is even better than expected and I'm feeling rather
virtuous. I therefore treat myself to a visit to Denmark Street - the home
of the London music industry. There are about 12 music shops in one tiny
street off Charing Cross Road. Some are 6 story musical instrument
emporiums however my favourites are the speciality shops such as the Rare
and Vintage Electric Guitar shop. Afficianados gather here on the weekend
to lovingly stroke these most precious and beautiful instruments. Every
guitar has a hand written card laying out it's pedigree and famous owners.
Bloody hell - is that Alvin Lee's guitar? - I hope they havn't seen me
wiping dribble off it. I wander home in a reverie - huming "Going Home"
and playing one of my finest air guitar lead breaks. To their credit the
poms on the tube simply turn their heads from this pathetic site.
This has to be the greatest town - wit, charm, fun, culture, history,
peace, safety, harmony, jobs for all and fabulous wealth. On the news this
morning it was announced that the British Government has a record cash
surplus of 35 billion Pounds Sterling and they are currently investigating
ways of getting rid of it.
"Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner that I love London so" goes the old
music hall song. I'm not a Londoner so what's my excuse?
There ain't nufink wot I can put me finger on - naa-wot-I-mean-guv?