It used to be, as Samuel Johnson once opined, that ‘He who tires of London, tires of life.’ And, being a dyed in the wool Londoner, I once believed this with heart and soul. Only now, on a late train home and passing acre after climbing vertical acre of soulless buildings being sold-off to the overseas rich, it feels more like he who tires of life stays to London.
We can’t house our existing population, yet so many luxury apartments are being marketed overseas for ridiculous amounts that it makes you feel like giving up on the whole metropolis,. I mean, how many apartments are sold on the promise of buying into a thriving capital?
And how many buyers will even visit their investment? What if they actually arrived to find it situated in a soulless sector where their only neighbours are construction companies and cranes?
Of course we can’t all up-sticks; the capital is too much of a magnet, but perhaps we should withdraw our after work activities, our over priced morning coffees, and our keep fit classes – a 21st century consumer version of scorched earth? We pull out and build our communities elsewhere. Somewhere we don’t have to pay through the nose for commuting just to justify the crazy politics of investment and aspiration. Let the oligarchs invest in river side ghettos of Waitrose Express and pubs that have all had to aspire to ‘gastro’ status when all you want is a pint, a pie and a chinwag with mates without tripping over digs and having to mind your language in case the local private school kids find their ears penetrated with uncouthness and barbarity by hoi poloi.
No, Johnson wouldn’t be allowed to spin in his grave now for fear of receiving an injunction on noise or lowering property prices. London now is as soulless as those who own it: the corporations and investors and the owners who will never live there. Yes, the city has always been about commerce. For millennia it’s been the place to make money and to make a fortune for yourself. Only now it doesn’t compare. It’s not for those who make their fortunes and live within her bounds. Its for faceless foreigners and their collaborators in the city who slink back to mansions in the home counties having ripped the soul out of one of the greatest cities in the world.
I hope they sleep well…
- An honest man has few friends.
- A married man has little opportunity for honesty.
- Whether the glass is half-empty or half-full,the man who doesn’t drink has little perspective on life, his experience being entirely empty!
- He who has seen the majesty of the pyramids at Giza may not have seen the sublime beauty of the street lights reflected in the duck pond next to the Queen’s Head pub in Chislehurst.
- The next drink holds more real promise than the breasts of the most buxom barmaid (adapt as befitting your own sexual orientation).
- The sins of the pub garden are more real than those of the Garden of Eden.
- A bird in the hand is a rarity over the age of 45!
- Th eighth aphorism in any list is always the most difficult to compose.
- A mirage is not to be trusted, unless it’s the Mirage 2 Diner in Chislehurst, in which case the food is great.
- Don’t compose lists while under the influence of alcohol.
Composed on Christmas Eve 2016.
A trip to my local supermarket this morning, and the antics of my fellow humans, has left me in a misanthropic mood. As a result, I’ve been listening to King 810, watching Frankie Boyle on YouTube and drinking beer.
Oh, and I’ve compiled a top ten of Frankie’s best quotes:
“£3m for the funeral of Margaret Thatcher? For £3m you could give everyone in Scotland a shovel, and we could dig a hole so deep we could hand her over to Satan in person!”
“Our greatest fear is to die alone, which is why I intend to take quite a few people with me.”
“Bye Afghanistan. Seems like we just couldn’t murder enough of you to bring peace, couldn’t drop enough explosives to bring stability. Sorry.”
“I don’t read newspapers anymore. I just lie to myself and cut out the middle man.”
“It’s worth remembering that in the press, ‘public opinion’ is often used interchangeably with ‘media opinion’, as if the public was somehow much the same as a group of radically right-wing billionaire sociopaths.”
“On balance, I think the only reason our political elite haven’t slaughtered us in camps is they need us to produce children for them to fuck.”
“People say that Steve Jobs died too soon but I think it was a fitting metaphor for his company’s attitude to battery life.”
“We live in a culture built on debt, so we are encouraged to have no self-control. Consumer culture needs us to be impulsive, while our political culture fears that we will ever develop discipline.”
“There is a vegetarian option. You can fuck off.”
“I thought it was sad, you know, that they had that pop concert to commemorate Diana. I mean, she didn’t have much to do with pop music, did she? They should’ve done something that celebrated what was really great about her life: By staging a gangbang in a minefield.”