Much like the arteries of a body carrying an excess of fat, London’s public transport system is prone to clogging at times of high stress; daily at peak hours of activity. Straining to move a glut of travellers around its transportation infrastructure, London operates lethargically at key points of the day, much to the frustrations of the lifeblood pumping, slower that they would wish, through its weary veins. The parallels between an obese human and London don’t stop here. Today, I want to explore what living in London has meant to me over the past 19 years.
London is no doubt an incredible European city. One could explore London for a lifetime and not fully appreciate all of its treasures, from the bold and famed to the hidden gems that shine brighter in their secrecy. Much like an obese human, walking around London can take your breathe away.
This is especially true at Christmas, when decorations start to cover everything…
…And the city is peppered with festive oddities.
As a truly multicultural city, London is also a paragon of diversity. To most ends, a broadly birthed and global community co-exist in harmony, respectful of each other’s faith structures and beliefs. Much like an obese body however, which is filled with excess calories, London is so densely populated that the risk of cultural clashes is increased. It is not to say that this overpopulation comes from any specific source; when the fat body dies from a heart attack one cannot isolate the specific cake that acted as the catalyst. The problem is more complex in its complete nature. In short, more people more problems. But in general, the populace exists in peace.
Aside from these, there is one standout reason why I compare London to an obese person. People struggling with obesity often have mental anguish surrounding difficulty in the past. I appreciate that this is a gross generalisation, and it is not a trait mutually exclusive to the obese. We all have a predisposition to this. But, for the purpose of this thought, the obese often comfort themselves with food, to suppress their unresolved issues and trauma. I would know, I certainly did in the past. Much like an obese person, it is interesting to me that there is such a strong culture surrounding binge drinking in London. There isn’t a day that the pubs don’t teem with drunken masses and nightly the streets are drenched with the intestinal juices of the intoxicated. I simply wonder, is there something that everyone in London is turning a blind eye to? Perhaps we have societally repressed something?
For me, there is something missing in London. For all the glitz, the glamour, the light and the sites, there is a lack of soul-appeasing lifeblood. Within the city, I feel somewhat obscured from the natural world.
As I explore the world, my opinion of London shifts, but what remains at the core of my mind is a sense that this glorious city is not one that I will ever truly call home.
(Photos – Eli Woodbine, London, 2015)