Thursday, 7 June 2012

London's Moody Jubilee Hangover

When looking around London this week, it's a bit like being inside someone else's hangover. In the suburbs, there are still a few Union Jack flags adorning people's houses, but now the Jubilee is over, they seem a bit bedraggled in the rain that has followed our recent mini heat wave.

In town, the banks of the Thames are still showing evidence that a heaving monster of a crowd has been there. There are occasional piles of stacked crowd barriers presumably awaiting collection. There seems to be more litter than usual. And somehow it's strangely quiet.

Post-Jubilee Rubbish

It's not really quiet, of course. London doesn't really do "quiet". But perhaps you'll know what I mean. There are noticeably fewer people around. The trains have spare seats. I suppose some of this is due to the half term holiday currently being enjoyed by the capital's children. But even my eccentric travelling companion in the yellow sou'wester is absent, perhaps off chasing humpbacks in the north Atlantic rather than wave his red white and blue any more.

If music were playing now, it'd be slow, and slightly overdriven. There'd be a church hall reverb, like that when they're going to switch the lights on at the end of a wedding party. It wouldn't be hard to find a broken bottle, and perhaps in the corner a girl with tear-streaked makeup would be mournfully smoking a cigarette and wondering why it came to this.

But life goes on, and so does London. I still see a delivery happening as I walk to my desk. The recently finished hotel just along the street (unashamedly completed in good time to exploit Olympic visitors) is now serving breakfasts to its guests. There's always a tomorrow, and that tomorrow has come now. The Shard is still Shardy; The Wobbly Bridge still doesn't wobble any more, Nelson continues to observe proceedings from the top of his column. There has been rain today and sunshine after it, and when the half term is over, the people will return. It's London, it's alive, it does events and gatherings and festivities perhaps better than anywhere in the world. And then it wakes up, moves on, and takes us all with it in a perpetual journey through its ever changing moods.

The Post-Jubilee Shard

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