You’re All London Dicks
It’s a huge misfortune, this will-o’-the-wisp attraction exercised by London on young men of brains. They come here to be degraded, or to perish, when their true sphere is a life of peaceful remoteness. The type of man capable of success in London is more or less callous and cynical. If I had the training of boys, I would teach them to think of London as the last place where life can be lived worthily.
George Gissing, New Grub Street, 1891
Somehow, without me really noticing, this month marked the end of a decade spent living in London. God knows how this happened. I promised myself when I moved here that it was only for ten years, tops, but now I imagine I will be here for the Olympics at least.
“London’s kind to the confident. Otherwise, what is there? Get on the tube in the morning and people stare straight into your face from less than one foot distance. That’s no way to live.”
M John Harrison, ‘The Good Detective’, 2007
I’ve had a west, north, south and east postcode. I’ve been bombed on my birthday. I’ve been sad and I’ve been happy and I’ve been in limbo. I guess I’ve changed a lot over this period but the only think that comes to mind when I think about how living in London has changed me is this:
I can now use chopsticks