torsdag 21 april 2011

London, 2010

So, what is this city like now, when I am here? If someone reads this in twenty year´s time, ten, five, one, what was it like, now when I am studying here? What was it like?

Red double-decker buses are the biggest herbivores of the city. They drift through it, sometimes lazily, sometimes fast. Sometimes they flock in large numbers around a specific crossing or stop. There are smaller ones too, one level only, but longer, like aardvarks, that will take you to more local stops. Among their dance there are ponderous old elephants: the old Routemasters, the ones where you could get on and off on the open platform at the back. Most of them have been scrapped or sold, only a few move along what is called the ”Heritage Line” of buses 9 and 15 who take tourists from Liverpool Street Station, through Aldgate and the Strand, past Charing Cross Station and Trafalgar Square, and on to Picadilly Circus, Oxford Street, Regent Street, then later, Paddington or Knightsbridge and High Street Kensington.

Names, names. The city is still filled with all these magical names. Muttered invocations, mumbled curses, softer laughs of places to meet, streets to live on, neighbourhoods to avoid or live longing for.

...Angel, Mayfair, Goose Green and Notting Hill...

London has always had a reputation for noise. Today, cell phones are everywhere. Inventors have yet to invent an internal system for controlling the loudness of an individual – maybe by your time, when you read this in the future, this will exist and force the talker to keep a low tone when other people are around. Maybe there will even be controls from the outside, for people who are habitually loud and obnoxious, or some kind of system where you are legally allowed to taser them on sight – like you are today, when someone plays music out loud on the bus or on the train (oh I wish this was so).

There are five loose paving stones just in front of the bus shelter facing the theater on Cambridge Circus. They are rectangular, and pale.

London 2010 is a bustling city in constant change and movement. Yesterday, I went back home on a bus. Suddenly we were re-routed: the bridge was closed. It was a Sunday, and a lot of engineering works is done on Sundays to minimize problems. The bus was still full to the brim on a Sunday at 1800. They are constantly upgrading the Tube; there is a Sisyphosian labour of restoring the plumbing all over London, upgrading the Victorian pipes to something resembling present day technology. Not that they weren´t great, it seems they really were extraordinarily well done, but...it´s been a while since the 1800´s.

It´s difficult to get a flat in London. Prices are going up, and then going up more. A mortgage for buying a small flat would probably start at 300 000 pounds today (about 3 million SEK, current rate). And that would be a very, very small flat.

Boris Johnson is mayor. Boris of the bicycle, the floppy hair, and the great idea to restore a version of the old Routemasters which I really like.

Lady Gaga is very popular; Stephen Fry just came out with his second part of his autobiography. The Robin Hood Tax movement still fights the fight to get the banks taxed; Portobello Market still fills every week, just a bit away from Notting Hill Gate where a beacon stood in Roman times, 2000 years ago. Instead of grim-faced Roman soldiers now here walks Japanese tourists with high-tech digital cameras, young students in gazelle-like flocks, and the owners with the special faces of the ”antique” dealers resembling the rats that you´re never supposed to be more than 1.5 meters away from in most places in London.

London is gearing up for 2012 and the Olympics. There are a few zillion security cameras in the capital now – I think you´re covered by 3 cameras for most meters that you walk – and the new cars with roving cameras that weave through traffic have started a new movement, where bikers or motorcyclists wearing masks drive next to them with a big sign and an arrow that says, ”Smile – you´re being filmed!”.

Maybe you will be reading this in a hundred years´ time. Who knows. Then London might be a built-in metropolis covering the entire south of England, with bridges to France like the bridges that cross the Thames today, and both the London and Paris-sides of the water can say that it´s in fact the other city that is a suburb to theirs.

...Lambeth, Southwark, Aldgate and St Giles...

Now Old King Winter is moving in. He is dressed in his huge old cape, with his long white beard and a crown of crystal ice, one hand holds a lantern made in of old black iron, the other, a scepter covered in frost. He moves into London, covering the bridges with snow, the tall buildings with icicles; he walks gently, on soles hidden in snow, killing homeless people and the old. Snow over London. Maybe in a hundred years´ time the whole city will be covered by cupolas, geodesics, thermal walkways, airfilter systems that will clean out any terrorist attacks that tries to use germs or bacterial warfare. The security people for the Olympics here 2012 must be spending their entire days worrying, and not sleeping much. Talk about a good place for terrorists to succeed and be seen, during the London Olympics. And I will be here, then. Great. Time to stock up on extra first aid kits for my backpack. And, uh, some high quality instant coffee. You never know if you can get that when disaster hits.

...St. James´s, Pimlico and Bloomsbury, Hackney, Westminster and Camden Town...

London, 2010

So, what is this city like now, when I am here? If someone reads this in twenty year´s time, ten, five, one, what was it like, now when I am studying here? What was it like?

Red double-decker buses are the biggest herbivores of the city. They drift through it, sometimes lazily, sometimes fast. Sometimes they flock in large numbers around a specific crossing or stop. There are smaller ones too, one level only, but longer, like aardvarks, that will take you to more local stops. Among their dance there are ponderous old elephants: the old Routemasters, the ones where you could get on and off on the open platform at the back. Most of them have been scrapped or sold, only a few move along what is called the ”Heritage Line” of buses 9 and 15 who take tourists from Liverpool Street Station, through Aldgate and the Strand, past Charing Cross Station and Trafalgar Square, and on to Picadilly Circus, Oxford Street, Regent Street, then later, Paddington or Knightsbridge and High Street Kensington.

Names, names. The city is still filled with all these magical names. Muttered invocations, mumbled curses, softer laughs of places to meet, streets to live on, neighbourhoods to avoid or live longing for.

...Angel, Mayfair, Goose Green and Notting Hill...

London has always had a reputation for noise. Today, cell phones are everywhere. Inventors have yet to invent an internal system for controlling the loudness of an individual – maybe by your time, when you read this in the future, this will exist and force the talker to keep a low tone when other people are around. Maybe there will even be controls from the outside, for people who are habitually loud and obnoxious, or some kind of system where you are legally allowed to taser them on sight – like you are today, when someone plays music out loud on the bus or on the train (oh I wish this was so).

There are five loose paving stones just in front of the bus shelter facing the theater on Cambridge Circus. They are rectangular, and pale.

London 2010 is a bustling city in constant change and movement. Yesterday, I went back home on a bus. Suddenly we were re-routed: the bridge was closed. It was a Sunday, and a lot of engineering works is done on Sundays to minimize problems. The bus was still full to the brim on a Sunday at 1800. They are constantly upgrading the Tube; there is a Sisyphosian labour of restoring the plumbing all over London, upgrading the Victorian pipes to something resembling present day technology. Not that they weren´t great, it seems they really were extraordinarily well done, but...it´s been a while since the 1800´s.

It´s difficult to get a flat in London. Prices are going up, and then going up more. A mortgage for buying a small flat would probably start at 300 000 pounds today (about 3 million SEK, current rate). And that would be a very, very small flat.

Boris Johnson is mayor. Boris of the bicycle, the floppy hair, and the great idea to restore a version of the old Routemasters which I really like.

Lady Gaga is very popular; Stephen Fry just came out with his second part of his autobiography. The Robin Hood Tax movement still fights the fight to get the banks taxed; Portobello Market still fills every week, just a bit away from Notting Hill Gate where a beacon stood in Roman times, 2000 years ago. Instead of grim-faced Roman soldiers now here walks Japanese tourists with high-tech digital cameras, young students in gazelle-like flocks, and the owners with the special faces of the ”antique” dealers resembling the rats that you´re never supposed to be more than 1.5 meters away from in most places in London.

London is gearing up for 2012 and the Olympics. There are a few zillion security cameras in the capital now – I think you´re covered by 3 cameras for most meters that you walk – and the new cars with roving cameras that weave through traffic have started a new movement, where bikers or motorcyclists wearing masks drive next to them with a big sign and an arrow that says, ”Smile – you´re being filmed!”.

Maybe you will be reading this in a hundred years´ time. Who knows. Then London might be a built-in metropolis covering the entire south of England, with bridges to France like the bridges that cross the Thames today, and both the London and Paris-sides of the water can say that it´s in fact the other city that is a suburb to theirs.

...Lambeth, Southwark, Aldgate and St Giles...

Now Old King Winter is moving in. He is dressed in his huge old cape, with his long white beard and a crown of crystal ice, one hand holds a lantern made in of old black iron, the other, a scepter covered in frost. He moves into London, covering the bridges with snow, the tall buildings with icicles; he walks gently, on soles hidden in snow, killing homeless people and the old. Snow over London. Maybe in a hundred years´ time the whole city will be covered by cupolas, geodesics, thermal walkways, airfilter systems that will clean out any terrorist attacks that tries to use germs or bacterial warfare. The security people for the Olympics here 2012 must be spending their entire days worrying, and not sleeping much. Talk about a good place for terrorists to succeed and be seen, during the London Olympics. And I will be here, then. Great. Time to stock up on extra first aid kits for my backpack. And, uh, some high quality instant coffee. You never know if you can get that when disaster hits.

...St. James´s, Pimlico and Bloomsbury, Hackney, Westminster and Camden Town...
London, 2010

So, what is this city like now, when I am here? If someone reads this in twenty year´s time, ten, five, one, what was it like, now when I am studying here? What was it like?

Red double-decker buses are the biggest herbivores of the city. They drift through it, sometimes lazily, sometimes fast. Sometimes they flock in large numbers around a specific crossing or stop. There are smaller ones too, one level only, but longer, like aardvarks, that will take you to more local stops. Among their dance there are ponderous old elephants: the old Routemasters, the ones where you could get on and off on the open platform at the back. Most of them have been scrapped or sold, only a few move along what is called the ”Heritage Line” of buses 9 and 15 who take tourists from Liverpool Street Station, through Aldgate and the Strand, past Charing Cross Station and Trafalgar Square, and on to Picadilly Circus, Oxford Street, Regent Street, then later, Paddington or Knightsbridge and High Street Kensington.

Names, names. The city is still filled with all these magical names. Muttered invocations, mumbled curses, softer laughs of places to meet, streets to live on, neighbourhoods to avoid or live longing for.

...Angel, Mayfair, Goose Green and Notting Hill...

London has always had a reputation for noise. Today, cell phones are everywhere. Inventors have yet to invent an internal system for controlling the loudness of an individual – maybe by your time, when you read this in the future, this will exist and force the talker to keep a low tone when other people are around. Maybe there will even be controls from the outside, for people who are habitually loud and obnoxious, or some kind of system where you are legally allowed to taser them on sight – like you are today, when someone plays music out loud on the bus or on the train (oh I wish this was so).

There are five loose paving stones just in front of the bus shelter facing the theater on Cambridge Circus. They are rectangular, and pale.

London 2010 is a bustling city in constant change and movement. Yesterday, I went back home on a bus. Suddenly we were re-routed: the bridge was closed. It was a Sunday, and a lot of engineering works is done on Sundays to minimize problems. The bus was still full to the brim on a Sunday at 1800. They are constantly upgrading the Tube; there is a Sisyphosian labour of restoring the plumbing all over London, upgrading the Victorian pipes to something resembling present day technology. Not that they weren´t great, it seems they really were extraordinarily well done, but...it´s been a while since the 1800´s.

It´s difficult to get a flat in London. Prices are going up, and then going up more. A mortgage for buying a small flat would probably start at 300 000 pounds today (about 3 million SEK, current rate). And that would be a very, very small flat.

Boris Johnson is mayor. Boris of the bicycle, the floppy hair, and the great idea to restore a version of the old Routemasters which I really like.

Lady Gaga is very popular; Stephen Fry just came out with his second part of his autobiography. The Robin Hood Tax movement still fights the fight to get the banks taxed; Portobello Market still fills every week, just a bit away from Notting Hill Gate where a beacon stood in Roman times, 2000 years ago. Instead of grim-faced Roman soldiers now here walks Japanese tourists with high-tech digital cameras, young students in gazelle-like flocks, and the owners with the special faces of the ”antique” dealers resembling the rats that you´re never supposed to be more than 1.5 meters away from in most places in London.

London is gearing up for 2012 and the Olympics. There are a few zillion security cameras in the capital now – I think you´re covered by 3 cameras for most meters that you walk – and the new cars with roving cameras that weave through traffic have started a new movement, where bikers or motorcyclists wearing masks drive next to them with a big sign and an arrow that says, ”Smile – you´re being filmed!”.

Maybe you will be reading this in a hundred years´ time. Who knows. Then London might be a built-in metropolis covering the entire south of England, with bridges to France like the bridges that cross the Thames today, and both the London and Paris-sides of the water can say that it´s in fact the other city that is a suburb to theirs.

...Lambeth, Southwark, Aldgate and St Giles...

Now Old King Winter is moving in. He is dressed in his huge old cape, with his long white beard and a crown of crystal ice, one hand holds a lantern made in of old black iron, the other, a scepter covered in frost. He moves into London, covering the bridges with snow, the tall buildings with icicles; he walks gently, on soles hidden in snow, killing homeless people and the old. Snow over London. Maybe in a hundred years´ time the whole city will be covered by cupolas, geodesics, thermal walkways, airfilter systems that will clean out any terrorist attacks that tries to use germs or bacterial warfare. The security people for the Olympics here 2012 must be spending their entire days worrying, and not sleeping much. Talk about a good place for terrorists to succeed and be seen, during the London Olympics. And I will be here, then. Great. Time to stock up on extra first aid kits for my backpack. And, uh, some high quality instant coffee. You never know if you can get that when disaster hits.

...St. James´s, Pimlico and Bloomsbury, Hackney, Westminster and Camden Town...