Call off the search! Thanks for your emails guys, and no - I’m not dead, although my hair today could pass as that of a corpse. The reason the Jack of Hearts has held his silence for a couple weeks is because I’ve been absorbed in learning the ropes of a new job, and have only just set up the internet in my new flat.
Here are four observations on living in central London:
1) Constant low-level violence.
Walking across London is a contact sport. Nintendo should make a game out of it, like House of the Dead meets WWF. From falling over wheelie suitcases to being smacked in the face by a Balenciaga handbag – the streets are punctuated with belligerent luggage.
When I’m in a hurry I seem to find myself stuck behind a slow person, mumbling slowly to themselves, rummaging slowly in their bags, probably looking for some Sloe gin.
2) Song lyrics
The Soho equivalent of scholastic achievement. Nobody on Old Compton Street did a real degree but everyone knows the words to every pop song ever. Before the first trumpet toot of Madonna and JT’s irritating song 4 Minutes has even sounded, you’ll see a room full of writhing figures with bags under their eyes, all brandishing four fingers at each other’s faces. It’s their way of saying ‘Yes, I know this song, I’m a committed Madonna fan’. When really they know the lyrics because they go to Ku bar every night or they sit at home revising on YouTube.
3) Drinks prices
They’re either free, because you let somebody think they can potentially sleep with you, or, if you have integrity, drinks cost a lot of money. And Boris wonders why there’s a drugs problem? In Leeds it was roughly £2 for a pint of beer, but often half. In London it’s roughly £4 for a pint of beer, and sometimes triple.
On public transport the citizens of London just stare at you as if you’re a poster. The escalators travelling in the opposite direction are effectively endless lines of people staring.