London, Pt. I

3 Aug

This Is How London Feels

In London, everything is old, nothing is innocent. If you’re in London and you want to be reminded that you’re in a foreign country, look up. The buildings, at their tops, curve and twist in on themselves in elegant, baroque designs. It’s like peering into the ocean. Where you stand everything seems normal; then shift your gaze into it and there are these curling shapes – the shapes of shells and movement – but in London, the shapes are up in the stone. Or if not baroque, they’re brick and stern. Or they’ve got ivy on them or strange windows or they’re gray and quiet.
You’ll casually pass by things in London that are older than anything you’ve ever seen. A churchyard sits with crows and the teeth of tensely leaning graves markers; the years and the names erased.
People’s souls are old. Everyone seems well-dressed (or “smart” as they say); everyone is reading. There are even advertisements for books in the subway. It’s something to be excited about; some of the books are even high-minded.
After living in the new – and San Francisco is so utterly new – I wondered how London could even still be there. I was grateful that it was, though. Its being translates the past for an American into present tense. It’s like a missing link. You can understand that the pagans once filled the hills because the buildings look mystical, the people seem up to something; it’s all mysterious.
There are images of animals everywhere. In Trafalgar Square, there are four lions, keeping watch over all the directions of the city. Lions. The memory of London is old enough to reach back into a time where lions meant something. Not just the villains in nature documentaries but beings that once walked around – thousands of years ago, yes, but around nonetheless. And somehow remembered by the culture and honored by kings in medieval times.
If you go to London, go see the Lions. They are guarding, I have read, the column in the middle, meant to honor an admiral. But they seemed to me to be guarding the whole city. Like they were ready to come to life at any moment, or to burn with glowing light or wings like the archangel Michael – found in esoteric literature in the form of a winged lion – and protect London from trouble. Go sit between their paws and close your eyes and listen to the kids – loud drunk kids, because some things are universal – clambering over the lions affectionately. And listen to the rushing of the city (which is quieter and more refined than New York rushing). It will make you feel the spirit of London deeply – it’s an intense feeling; like a thread between yourself and everything that lead up to you.
Then, when you’re done, have sex with an Italian fitness magazine model.
More on that later.

2 Responses to “London, Pt. I”

  1. bradders83 February 12, 2013 at 1:35 am #

    Just letting you know that the Admiral honoured at the top of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, is Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson. Who defeated Napoleon’s fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and was killed in the process. Having already lost an eye and an arm previously! The fact that Nelson lost his eye has prompted a saying over here: “when Nelson gets his eye back!” Implying an impossible scenario/event.

    Another historical quirk surrounding Admiral Nelson (I don’t know how this came about) is that his tomb in St. Paul’s Cathedral was originally meant for Henry VIII. Although he wasn’t buried in it, perhaps because he grew too ulcerated and fat! Who knows!

    Plus walk along The Embankment whenever you’re in London next, near Blackfriar’s Underpass, to see the house of Nelson’s mistress, Lady Emma Hamilton. Sorry for all the Nelson information, it’s been attained via an osmosis effect from my grandmother, Horatio Nelson is her hero. Him and Winston Churchill, tied!


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