About Me

"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Sunday, 21 April 2013

In orbital love

After many weeks dithering, took the new (and slightly bigger) version of the old little train from Wandsworth Road.

A bright Sunday lunchtime. Somehow elated after finding some bargain CDs at the local charity shops (Traffic, Pink Fairies, Bowie, Dylan, etc....) I shift from my default depressed mode to my default manic mode and almost run to the library to borrow something to read on what I expect to be a long train journey. I boorow a Flann O'Brien book and a biography of Man Ray.

The nearest station is now Clapham High Street, so that's where I head. People are up on the platform looking like normal travellers. In the past I remember  getting stoned right here on someone else's skunk fumes.  These were popular dealing and skinning up spots, in the very recent past.

Not any more. Perhaps. All has changed. Perhaps. It's now smartly branded "Overground" with the orange roundel and orange everything, and the trains are brand new - and quite disconcerting at first as all the seats are placed lengthways along the walls of the carriage, and you can see all the way up and down the train (unless it's going round a very tight corner).

But - it all seemed wonderfully efficient.


Am I beginning to thaw, to actually start loving the modern world, the post-modern, post Olympics, Boris Johnstonian London - the thing I sort of assumed I would hate, I must hate, I had no alternative but to hate?

Maybe. This is the old line but , once past Queen's Road Peckham you realise you're being transported into a shabby version of a brave new world, or at least a shabby old-new London.

Instead of humbly shuffling itself into London Bridge Station (having passed the Milwall football ground and that big waste-burning power station) it shoots off into the docklands, Surrey Quays, Canada Water, the fast-fading shine of that deeply depressing Canary Wharf business area - and then links back into the East London/North London Line.

It plunges into and out of cut-and-cover tunnels, flashes past some of the most fashionable spots in the the city (Hoxton, Dalson Jct etc) and rattles you through so many views of the Shard  and the Eye and Hawksmoor, and Brixton market, and and and and St Pauls and so on....you swear the whole thing was a London tourist board commercial.

So I suddenly find myself passing Wapping (christ, wish we'd had this  service when I was at TES) and then Whitechapel.

The marathon has been run but the streets are still full of beaming spectators with their souvenir bags, they're crowding up Brick Lane, I just want to find the old bike parts market further up towards Shoreditch.

By the time I get there the stalls are being dismantled, so I make do with 3.2kg of Cyprus potatoes for £1 and a couple of sacks of very ripe tomatoes and trundle on to Canonbury....

Yes, I am falling back in Love with London, and it's not just the weak sunshine that's repsonsible.

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