flat (london, w1)

can’t remember the last time i was in london. i’m here now for a day and a half and this is definately the first time  with a camera. that’s not why i’m here, though, and i’m not sure if i’ll get the chance. i’m here with my other hat on – i have 20+ bookshops to visit, liberally spread. how long will that take me?  

i set out across  the city – on foot – taking in the sights like the tourist that i am. from oxford st, down charing cross rd i head; through covent garden then over to surrey st (near temple tube on embankment); the city (passing st. paul’s cathedral on the way – wow); trafalgar square, picadilly and harrods on the brompton rd; posh old king’s rd. i then take the tube up to the euston rd. the hustlers of the overground are replaced by the zombies of the underground – passengers dead behind the eyes, momentarily shut down. little interaction. now cambden high st for my last stop of the day.

this endeavour earns me a couple of hours to explore a bit the following morning. i head towards soho. i’m vaguely familiar with the record shops here, and though some of them seem to have disappeared, there are still a few left. i pop into souljazz. the shop staff are characteristically ‘cool’ and disinterested. just as i remember! the skies are grey and the light poor so i walk round the old haunts – poland, dean and d’arberly – in no particular hurry.

then i stumble into a bustling berwick st market. fruit, veg, fish and fabrics. interesting characters letting passers-by know what they’ve got to offer and exchanging banter. the massive glitz of oxford street visible just up the street, making the setting cuter still.

the wind gets up and un-fastened tarpaulin flaps and whips. this is a tough way to make a living – what must it be like in january?

my camera’s out but the light’s not easy to work with – mostly flat with occassional breaks when the sun comes streaming through. then darker, then lighter… i’m constantly adjusting. i don’t get many shots but i’m glad to have broken my london cherry. i will return.

leaving ‘the smoke’ i think how eclectic and interesting the people and use of space are. the size, grandeur and history. but i also think about returning home. how would i see bristol as a fresh-eyed visitor? can i see like this once again? what will i see if i do?

today’s track – a london soundtrack if ever there was one: that’s entertainment (demo version) – paul weller 

thank you for reading don’t forget the sun. take care. k x

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