I am Not Good at modern life. One symptom of this is that I really, really hate London. Not London where people live, places like Ealing and Richmond. No, central London, where my day job occasionally takes me. That's the bit I hate.
I walk everywhere in central London, being as how the thought of of being crammed in a minuscule metal cartridge and shot through tunnels that both in looks and hygiene resemble someone's actual rectum after winning Top Eater at a chili cook-off inspires me with fear the like of which only Amy Winehouse's gynaecologist can understand. And when you walk, you see a lot. A lot of milling tourists pointing at the Household Cavalry and taking up the entire footpath to do it. A lot of beetroot-faced, yelling maniacs driving cars who like to park on pedestrian crossings, then run over your foot as you attempt to cross when it is your legal right to do so. A lot of fashionably-dressed people running flat-out with a trolley case bumping along the pavement behind them and a large decaf soy latte in the other hand. I've been laid out by those before.
I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me Nottingham or give me death. Actually, death is about right. I often wonder if I'm going to survive the day in London, what with all the road rage flying about, and what with how my liver jacks up bile production enough to shrivel itself the moment I walk out of St. Pancras onto Euston Road. It's not that I don't like places other than where I live - Sheffield and Liverpool are two cities that remain close to my heart. Manchester too, despite the hubris. Or maybe because of it. I like modesty in my cities, but Manchester's hubris is the turkey-strut of the mill-boy made good, curiously loveable and emblematic of its history. By contrast, London's hubris is just plain smug. Probably because it has such an innate and massive economic advantage over everywhere else in the British Isles that it seems like Usain Bolt striding out to race the 100m sprint against a fat lad from Hull. It has all the best jobs, all the government (not that most cities would compete for that advantage) enough blue plaques to tile a swimming pool, and money chucked at the egregious place from all over the world. And what have we got in Nottingham? Caves, which are cliffs with holes in. And in Sheffield? The hospice of the British manufacturing industry, dying on its arse.
No, wait. It's not all that bad. I've just thought; they still have to fight their way through the tourists to get to work. Perhaps they're being punished enough after all.