London. City of rush, tube, double-decker buses. Multicultural. Multinational.
Every time I visit this city, it doesn’t stop to amaze me. There’s no room for relax. It’s a busy place where one has to rush. Rush or die. You’d better not walk slowly down the street. There are crowds everywhere. And you’re being pulled into these crowds. You need to follow their rules. The minute you enter the subway corridors…ekhm… the tube labyrinth I mean, you start to realize you’re in some kind of game where other players seem to know the rules better than you do. Who’s gonna win? Who’s gonna get out of this system of corridors and escalators first? Not in a hurry? You won’t be understood. I’m sorry. It’s a brutal world. Stay away from the left side. Move your ass to the right. Leave some space to those who constantly rush. Time is money. Especially in London.
Men all suited up. With newspapers in their hands. (Seriously? newspapers? like, nowadays?) Blackberry in the pocket. Fingers ready to scroll the trackball up and down. Talking about stock exchanges, shares, Barclays or other UBS.
Women wearing black coats and black tights 60 DEN. With elegant handbags. Usually with iPhones and Louis Vuitton scarfs.
Everyone talking about their jobs. Corporate language in the air. Everyone is so busy they don’t seem to notice the beautiful sunshine outside the labyrinth of the underground corridors.
In Canary Wharf all evenings are very much alike. The bars are full of young people, suited up, with a pint of beer (or a glass of wine) in hands. Usually till late. They all talk about work. They all network with a hope to get a better job. Better paid, it is. Through the connections, obviously. That’s how it works.
– Where do you work?
– Which organization do you work for?
– What’s your current position?
– How long have you been there?
It’s all about the corporations/banks you work for. It’s all about the fancy positions. If you’re a simple analyst (or you’ve got any other entry position), be aware your interlocutor might not stay with you for longer. The hunting begins.
In fact, the most stressful the job, the more cocktails these people get.
Single. Lonely (never would they admit this painful truth!). Workaholics. Dependent on their success. Social life? Yes, if one-night stands count. Brutal brave new world. Career is what matters. Career is actually the keyword here. These young people do not mind. Because with the money they get they can afford a very convenient life. They live in nice flats. They wear fancy clothes. They buy new technology gadgets. They can afford trips to other continents. With ease. It’s like a drug addiction. Once you taste this kind of life, you will not want to lose it. You’re free to do anything you want. Carpe diem. YOLO. Life’s beautiful. Who cares about the future? Who cares about the emotional life? Who cares about one’s feelings? There should be no commitment at all. Life’s too short.
In London you won’t see elderly people. It seems they have been banned to live in the city. Nor will you experience presence of the children. This city is a factory of business guys. Again, factory is the keyword. Mass production. Mass consumption.
You think you’ve got the choice? Try buying a yoghurt. How many different tastes and brands will you find in London? I hear silence. That’s what I thought.
Nowadays, with a huge need of being unique, we’re all encouraged to be just the opposite: be alike. London is, to me, one of those places, where you can see it so easily. People wearing black, the same hairdos, the same smartphones in hands, the same salads and sandwiches they eat during lunch time. Blindly following the crowds. The mass. Just look around when being underground. Zombies. Zombies everywhere.
What happened to the extravagant London where unique used to be the synonym of being a Londoner? Is it only reserved now to the people living in Camden Town? Why does everything have to be global? When did we lose this need of showing our true identity to the world? Does it really have to be that way?
London. You’re beautiful. With such an impressive history. But you start to disappoint me. Badly.