The other day I sent a memorable childhood-picture to my best friend. Her only reply to it was a simple “like” on facebook. I felt a little sad. When I mentioned it to her, she was really sorry and admitted she should have made more effort on a reaction. But when I visited her some weeks later in London, where she`s living, I suddenly understood everything.
I understood people living in this 24/7-city never ever have time for anything. She still doubted simply that was enough as a proper excuse and asked if it would also apply for someone living in Hamburg. Of course not, I told her. Hamburg is a city all right. But in London people even do their phone calls on headphones under helmets while they cycle back from work through massive traffic. Because no one has one single minute to waste. And almost every phone call I involuntarily witnessed during my stay involved sentences like “what time is your flight?” and “why don`t you get a cab?” – London people are always so on the move!
People are so busy and global and digital that they lose sight of the closest analog things sometime: In London most people don`t know any road names of their own neighborhood anymore. Because they never stroll. Because they only use buses and cabs and tubes and googlefuckinmaps. When I arrived, I thought I could get to the house of my friend easily – 8 minutes walk from the bus stop – by asking passengers, shop keepers, whoever. “Naaoooöüü, I`m sooöü soooorey, I dooöün`t knoooooöüü! But I have a phaaaoooööüüüne. Shall I look it up fooooor youa?” Yes, please. That would be very kind. Because I don`t have such a phone. I thought I`d get by asking local people. But apparently they have way more important things to deal with than road names. And I don`t blame them.
I blamed my friend though, a little, at the end of that day. When we stood in her yard with a pint, looking over the London night streets in which she has been living for seven years. And she said to me “Look at those number plates! It`s really weird, some of them seem to be yellow and some are white!” – I feared the worst and replied, giving her a hint “Yes, well, they are always yellow in the back and white in the front….” – WHAT? REALLY?? I didn`t know that!” – “Oh. My. God. How the fuck could you not have noticed THAT in seven years!?” I just smiled and gave her a kiss. London people must have a lot on their minds and backs for sure.
But so this is this capital then. A bustling filthy overpriced beehive where everyone is fighting, because it is not easy living there. But it is special and everyone seems to be pretty, fancy and very busy. At all times. There seems to be nothing not-cool in this city. Even the very normal has an inevitably stylish attitude in this trendy world of its own. Even the woman with the pram in Whitechapel looks cool. Even the stressed people on Victoria Line look admirable.
I came to wonder if this appearance is true. If locals still feels this London-spirit or if it`s just a projection because outsiders like me looking at it this way. Whether the coolness is only evolving in the very second someone is watching and falling back to normal again as soon as there`s no one caring? But then there`s always someone looking and always someone caring. Because this is London.
Everything appears random and careless. But in fact every tiny thing here is, or at least can be, a truly big deal. Maybe exactly because it pretends it isn`t. Everything is meant to happen along the way. Just beside the real deal. There is a universe of hidden sub eco systems which can only be understood from within. There are impossible rooms in wracked studio buildings in crappy side streets where foxes stroll at night, where people who seem to never have appeared on this earth before scream out their souls for nothing but for everything in their lives. And for those who coincidently happen to be in the same room at the very same time it makes a difference, strong enough to turn their world around. There are a thousand things to get inspired by.
London is something else. This place lives an everyday life that is different every day. Everyone here always seems to have a plan. Everyone seems to always have a way. Everyone seems to always do something. But the things you find aside the busy path are the true diamonds of this city. And even when you don`t have a plan, when you don`t follow a path and have nothing to do, you can be, whatever you want to be. Things happen, in this city. Things are possible, in this city. Everyone accepts everything. Although London is too full of everything already it seems it has a gap for anything and anyone more. And it already is an incredible collection of beautiful madness!