Tuesday, 29 September 2009

<3 London

I haven't been able to get the thought of moving to NYC out of my head. I don't know where it came from, but all it takes is the tiniest flutter of a 'what if' to make me dream of stalking uptown streets in fantastic heels and going to lots of art openings and taking cool welding and drawing and drinking classes at 3rdward. The funniest thing is that this is basically what I do living in London, only just it's London and not NYC. I don't even know if I'd like living in Manhattan and I already know that I love living in London. I've lived around a bit and I've never had the kind of relationship with other cities that I have with London. Come to think of it, I've never put as much into a relationship with a man in the same way I do with this city. It takes lots of work to get the most out of living here and it's funny, if perhaps a bit strange, that I'm willing to put so much into London. I'm happy to compromise and to try new things, to be faithful to my old favourites and to spend time learning about what's beneath the surface. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something about NYC makes me think that I wouldn't have this same kind of relationship - maybe it's because it's so much smaller than London. Don't get me wrong, there's something about the NYC spirit that I wish were more prominent in London. Where are all the people making shit happen outside of the boring old established spaces, the people doing exciting things and running amazing events. I think Londoners tend to be a bit lazier, a bit more suspicious and cynical in general than their counterparts across the Atlantic. I shouldn't overly generalise as I met some super inspiring people during the SALON exhibition and also during the London Design Festival. It restores my faith in the people in this town to know that there are curious and dynamic people hiding out there, I just wish they'd transform from consumers of culture into producers of it.

On a semi-related note, and because people ask me all the time (I know...), here's a top 10 of my favourite places in London. These aren't token groovy places, but places I love and go to all the time - places that I can always count on for reassurance that London is the place for me.
In no particular order:

1) Brunch at The Ambassador in Exmouth Market
2) Donmar and Royal Court Theatres
3) Dana Centre
Champagne Bar at St Pancras Station
5) Library Bar at the Lanesborough Hotel
6) Haunch of Venison gallery
7) The reading room in the London Library
8) Three Kings Pub in Clerkenwell
9 Teasmith in Spitalfields, Monmouth in Covent Garden, and Flat White in Soho
10) London Review of Books bookshop

Failing that, just take a walk. Don't forget to look up for inspiration lurks in the most unlikely of places.


Royal Court Theatre

The Library Bar

The Three Kings

Event at the Dana Centre


J. Harker said...

Goddamn do I want to get back to London.

And, for the record, I loathe New York. Loathe it with an almost unreasonable passion.

Phoenicia said...

Yeah, it's a pretty jazzy place.

Sounds like you've got a story to tell about NYC...

J. Harker said...

Wish I did. It'd be a lot easier to point at one specific thing instead of what my actual issue is - the people.

New Yorkers and their arrogant, condescending attitude towards everybody else. The general opinion that America is two islands of light (LA & NYC) separated by vast tracts of the uncultured masses who aren't worthy of setting foot inside their hallowed city.

The fact that Times Square is the urban equivalent of a cheap whore tarted-up in a fancy dress.

If I want a big city, I'll go to London. It may have many of the problems of NYC, but at least it's got class and centuries of culture to back up its cocky swagger.

Phoenicia said...

Yeah, I get that feeling as well.

Having said that, it's also pretty much how I feel about the rest of England, so I can't be THAT judgemental...