Faster than a speeding pullet…

Faster than a speeding pullet, that is a pullet dragging three tractor tyres, would be an apposite description of life in the fast lane of today’s London. Indeed, when a man is tired of London, he’s probably been sitting motionless in a car for several hours in a cloud of carbon monoxide. One could say such a man was exhausted rather than tired. The vast array of incredibly expensive, yet stationary, trophy vehicles is ironically only equalled by the profusion of “pound” or thrift shops. Can there be a clearer sign of a hopelessly divided society? I am not tired of London but I am tired by London. Instead of the excitement brought on by the anticipation of a thriving and fashionable city, there is a feeling of imposed inertia that enervates the spirit. This inertia does not solely relate to the mechanical, but appears to have entered the soul of the place. Unreal expectations are incarnated in the jagged toothed skyline of architect’s egos, and in the follies arising in the wasteland that is Olympic London. Medals should be struck for the new event of actually getting to the stadia. A sad coach trip to sad Stansted airport took me through the blunderland that will be home to these unwelcome games. The much publicised picture of Mayor Boris Johnson standing, suited and booted, atop the 10m diving board over the Olympic pool was the image of a modern day Icarus. In my youth I remember cards posted in telephone boxes showing the availability of spectacularly beautiful girls who. for the price of a phone call and a small stipend, would fulfil all one’s desires. Let us hope that the purchasers of tickets for the Olympics can keep the illusion going until the moment of reality when the door opens on the reeking Hogarthian hag. What appears to have happened is that England has become the victim of its own overreaching colonialism and has itself become the casbah. 

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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24 Responses to Faster than a speeding pullet…

  1. Dramatic pictures and thought provoking writing.

  2. Mad Dog says:

    I particularly like the picture of the cranes – Dr. Johnson might see things differently these days 😉

  3. A great photo of the cranes – it looks like the dreaded bungee jump at the fairground near the beach here….maybe it is like that! I’m going to Cardiff for a week next month and hope to find it a bit less depressing and surely less ‘exhausting’ than you found London….welcome home! (If you are home now?)

  4. Made me feel sad, I know what you you mean. I do hope it all comes together gloriously in the end – London is such an amazing city (well, I´m biased, it´s “my” city) but it seems so forgotten and grey every time I go back now.

  5. spree says:

    Your photos do tell the story Roger, a sad one. Your writing so articulately expresses the side of London that’s drear. Still, I hope to go there soon.

  6. Rachel says:

    The vividest colors even in the bleakest of scenes… you amaze!

  7. ChgoJohn says:

    Your description of the “new” London could just as easily be used for a number of our cities here, while reading your description of the impact of the Olympics upon your hometown makes me wonder whether Chicago really “lost” when the 2016 Olympics went to Rio instead of our Lakefront.

  8. Wonderful photos and thought provoking, I’m grateful my rural idyll is such a long way from thee big smoke.

  9. For a second I thought the huge cranes were parts of roller coasters one would see from the highway passing by.

  10. You’ve caught the undercurrent of urban sentiment perfectly here. Is it just the Olympics, or also recession, Europe, and other global worries. London as mirror to the world’s casbah…

  11. Mad Dog says:

    Here’s a better view of London, with all my favourite places and chefs:

    • That is truly excellent. The coffee moment with Fergus is really moving. He has been my yardstick for restaurants and food in general since my first experience at the Dining Room above the French and then the St John. I worked from my studio in Clerkenwell for many years, and he and the two Sams at Moro and the Eagle become my way of eating and one of the only things that I miss from London. Thanks.

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