Friday, September 11, 2009

i am the son and the heir of a shyness that's criminally vulgar

I have been reading a lot about love lately. Love and loss, love and suffering and sometimes, just for some irony, love and fulfillment. I am careful about love, usually. It doesn't make sense to have too much of the one thing you're afraid of losing. It is wise to choose carefully, if the situation allows for a choice at all. I didn't have that choice.

Some people spend their entire lives envisioning a city, a country. Over time, it turns into a romanticized, over-crowded day dream with illimitable possibilities and adventures. The place you have always wanted to go to - it is a crazy fucking land, isn't it?

For me, it has always been cities. Back-alleys and cobbled streets, concrete and grass, strange languages and smells, thunderstorms and sharp sunlight, cigarettes and coffee, nightclubs and street food. Old widows, restless boys comparing bomber jackets, girls flicking their hair in tandem on busy sidewalks, crazy homeless men with a bone to pick with you, stories on the subway, the nausea and the stillness. Cities. Nothing thrills me more than seeing miles and miles of sprawling settlements from an airplane. Every block, a different way. Every window, a different view. I can tell my entire life story in the context of the cities I have loved. And not loved like you love a person - there is nothing to fear if you love a city. It is yours if you choose for it to be. It will always be yours.

But there is one. Isn't there always one? The one that jolts you wide awake. The one that shakes you up. The one that fits with you. With all its grime, filth and disguises, it belongs with you and you with it. In the three years since I was last there, I have wanted nothing more than to go back. I dream that it waits for me, it waits for me just as I left it - foggy and chilled, it smelled of stale beer, cold air and cigarette smoke. I left it as the first of the snow-flakes danced down, and just for a moment, stayed frozen on noses and tips of ears before dissolving silently. Oh, London.

In my imagination, I stand outside a small, dirty bar that plays The Smiths almost obsessively. I smoke a cigarette, wrapped in the warm melancholy that only Morrissey can induce. In my heart, there is a relief I haven't felt in years, there is a security I have denied myself for a while, I'm happy to be where I am. Regardless of who waits for me inside the bar. It's a seductive day-dream.

There is a problem with pinning all your aspirations and hopes on to a city though. It seems almost fatalistic, the idea that if I get there, I will be happy and content and fulfilled. It almost makes you believe that nothing else will ever compare and so there's no point trying. There is also the fear that maybe the build up will lead to a disappointing second half of the tune. That's the thing, it's not just people who have the ability to let you down. But for now, none of this is what I want to believe in, none of this is what I want to fall for. If for no other reason, then to know that I am driving at something, I'm working towards a destination. I do not claim to know anything about my future, but I know where I want to stage it.

London town will be mine, one day.


Nashe^ said...

I hope that city doesn't disappoint.

Perakath said...

Haha. I don't listen to The Smiths, but I know exactly what you're saying.

km said...

Lovely post. Thanks for writing this.

(And bonus points, naturally, for quoting the Smiths in the title :)

Anonymous said...

I keep playing London Calling every once in a while hoping that maybe someday that album will transport me. Just.. always incomplete.

Pri said...

i think i might cry.

Anki said...

n nyc will b mine


CrazyDiamond said...

oh, I think I'm in the same boat. And its tearing me apart little by little that I can't move back to it. London that is.

Anonymous said...

good to see u back

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

See? If you look beyond your navel, you get to see more than lint.

If this post is really for me, I'm honoured. It's mostly well-written, except for the third para that ends with "It's always yours".

That's bloody brilliant.


BrianJ52 said...

dude, very nice