O cities memories of cities
Cities wrapped in our desires
Cities come early cities come lately
Cities strong and cities secret
Plundered of their master’s builders
All their thinkers all their ghosts
London is a great city. For all I long to be elsewhere, in the summer months there is nothing more exciting that London; filled with excited voices speaking a cacophony of languages, smiling faces as the sun shines down and the hustle and bustle of the streets packed with pilgrims. The city turns its residents into explorers on these glorious days, and yesterday, the first day that the sun raised its weary head and decided to join us, I did the same.
I took the tube from my flat to Waterloo, and then walked back (in a round about fashion) home. I took a walk through the Southbank, switching to the North side of the river and wound my way through streets and cyclists taking the time to look up at the buildings.
I love London. My favourite thing is the architecture; one building built in 1800 juxtaposed with a modern skyrise that houses bankers and workers through the week. Its like the city is being stubborn; a cackle of pensioners resisting the pace of time and the urge for the city to move and evolve with its competition.
St Paul’s is a perfect example of this. All around that area are faceless glass monoliths, built to fence in the ever growing hoards of people, the same people that don’t make eye contact on public transport and line, like rats, to get in a line to queue for a train. The cages of the faceless. But then the Royal Exchange and The Royal Court of Justice pop up, like two old men from their armchairs, moaning about ‘these days’ and casting their minds back to ‘the good old days’. These buildings, weathered by the wars, the world and the pace of current society have stood their time, and are now complaining about their backs and the rush of the city.
I watched Monuments Men when I was away, and it really stuck with me. If you haven’t seen or heard of the film, it follows a team of Allied art historians and scholars who accompanied the soldiers in the war to protect our art, our history and our heritage. They told officers which buildings to protect, and as a direct result, over 22,000 works of art were protected from the Nazis, through Belgium, France, Germany and Poland. No mean feat. If you haven’t seen it I would strongly recommend it, and it was called to my mind when wandering the lonely streets of the Square Mile.
What do you love the most about your city? I’m trying to put together a bucket list of cities I haven’t visited so I would love to know where is good to go!