NB to start with: I don’t live and have never lived in London.
‘My London’ is the idea of London as it exists in my mind – the prevalent idea that allows me to like and not hate it – and the parts of London that I like to visit in London, the parts of London I visit London for, and the parts that make me feel like it could be my home (though it isn’t and there’s of course much more to this city than those parts I like). Needless to say, but said anyway.
London is particularly pleasant at this time of year – late April, early May, when trees are already green and it’s finally viable – after all these months – to sit outside and enjoy your coffee or pint of cider. (Beware, though, ’cause you might get the wrong idea that London is the only place you can do it, if you time your trip wrong. Let me know in the comments if you understand what I mean, ’cause I don’t think it’s entirely clear but also feel like explaining it would take too long. Or I’m just straight up lazy). So that comes into the equation that decides which parts of London are my London.
If you follow my Instagram stories, you’ll know I went to London last Saturday to see Lewis Watson perform live at Lafayette in King’s Cross.
London always causes me to see ‘what ifs’ on every corner. What if I had gone to UCL? What if I had gone to UAL to do an MA in Publishing, like I could’ve ’cause I got in last year? (It was one of the two MA courses I applied for, the other one being the one I’m now doing in Brighton). Would I see my friend who lives there (he’s doing a PhD at UCL) (almost) every day, meaning I’d be way less lonely than I am in Brighton? Would I still be in touch with the many people with whom I did my scholarship in Sixth Form (albeit in different schools) who now live, study, and work in London? Would I be way more successful and confident and open to way more professional and educational opportunities than I have been in the places I’ve lived in instead? – This last question is kind of stupid, but I’m pretty sure I have thought about this at some point, maybe many times. If you know a good answer to this question, let me know. I’m sure there is one.
The quiet green streets you see at the top of this post are Gower Street and some streets to the west of St Pancras International station. While the street running past the southern faces of St Pancras and King’s Cross – and the British Library, and the northern faces of the UCL hospital and the Wellcome Trust – is busy as hell, it’s still relatively pleasant, compared e.g. with Westminster Bridge and the whole tourist alley by the London Eye – and those streets stemming off of it, and those stemming off of those stemming off of the main road whose name is Euston Road, are surprisingly quiet. Hardly any people there, at least when I was there on a Saturday afternoon. This is the kind of London I like – paradoxically un-busy, green, pleasant, aesthetically fantastic.
So, if one day I could live in a place like this, I would. To finish off, I attach three pictures of two cultural institutions, each within a 10 minutes’ walk from King’s Cross Station: the interior of the British Library, and the Central St Martins building of UAL (University of the Arts London) – the same one I would’ve gone to if I had chosen the MA in Publishing. I must tell you, space-wise the University of Brighton is more appropriate for me than Central St Martins – though the quality and usefulness of teaching, I won’t know. When it comes to the British Library, its entrance hall will forever have a place in my heart. It’s a perfect bridge between the inside and the outside – the red bricks and the cloudlike staircase pushing against them make you think like you’re not quite inside; the seating arrangements make you feel like you’re at a cozy library at the same time as being at a transient railway waiting room, as if you were just midway your journey from a place of knowing less to that of knowing more.