Monday, 3 December 2012

Warren Street Blues

A grey Thursday morning outside Warren Street Tube station, London, England. Moderately cold with a grey sky and the distinct likelihood of rain. The free magazine guys are busy trying to give away magazines and the bag stall man is busy setting up his stall. Rattling around with his aluminium stepladder, opening up the folding sides of the stall, transforming it like an origami model from a small enclosed kiosk to a much larger covered display, hanging his bags up and plugging in the lights. The ugly mirror glass office block opposite is neatly framed by the curved facades of University College Hospital (more ugly glass, some of it green) and the Underground station (which is dignified brick and Portland stone). There's a row of Boris bikes with wet saddles and few takers. Buses and taxis, lorries and white vans grind past, and a seemingly endless stream of people emerges from the Underground and heads south down Tottenham Court Road, muffled up in hats and scarves, ignoring each other and intent on texting or phone calls, or just focusing directly ahead. All of which might seem thoroughly depressing - at least until a girl in leather hot pants and a red bobble hat glides past inexpertly on her online skates, bumping into people as she goes. I stand still for a moment to take it all in, and strangely enough don't wish I was on a sunny beach in the Mediterranean or stoking up a peat fire in the Outer Hebrides. Think of all those people stuck on a sheep station in the outback or some godforsaken subdivision in the Midwest, let alone all the real hellholes, and just be glad to live somewhere civilised.