I went to London today to visit my *busband who’s working there at the moment. I used to live in Tooting Bec and London was my home for 14 years. I still miss the buzz of having so much choice in every aspect of life. I miss the shops, the museums, the theatres and cinemas, and music and clubs. Even though I rarely went out (I’m a mum) it felt like there were loads of opportunities for having a good time and just knowing that was a very cheery thought. As well as the restaurants and bars I could hardly ever visit, I discovered there were loads of great takeaways, and off-licences open 24 hours a day! London had plenty to offer the stuck-at-home people too. It is a something-for-everyone kind of place.
We left London because we wanted to buy a house. So now here we are in Kent where we find peace and quiet, no scary crime, a beach, and a 4 bedroomed house with a big garden, all this for less than you’d pay for a central London bedsit over a 24 hour chicken takeaway.
l still miss London a lot. I miss silly things. Today I noticed all the adverts for books, perfumes, films… It feels as like just walking down a street makes you aware of culture, makes you a part of the zeitgeist. And people in London seem thinner, more interesting, and so much better dressed! How can they afford to spend so much on clothes when they pay so much for housing?
When I lived in London I used to stick home-made stickers on the tube station posters on my way to work each day. I thought about this today when I went up and down tube station escalators with my one year old. He would have loved to see my colourful stickers of bees, monkeys, and whatever else was in my head when I got busy with my daughter’s sticker-making machine.
On the train home to Kent I noticed loads of graffiti by the side of the railway line. It made me smile to think that my paper tube-station stickers were a kind of graffiti too, a safer, tidier, more disposable form of the art. I’d never think of painting on a building with a spray can but I used to love sticking my sticky pictures on those posters beside the escalators. My little stickers were perhaps my middle class graffiti.
So now I live in Kent and there are no tube stations, no escalators, hardly even any posters. I don’t make my stickers any more.
I miss that too.
I won’t draw on the walls beside the railway line. I’ll accept that living here means I have no voice, less opportunity, and that it means I have no right to rebel.