I love this city when…
It’s eleven on a muggy summer evening. Gerry and I have just shut the studio door after a long day at work. We’re tired, slightly grumpy and can’t wait to get home. Suddenly a woman in her 50s, grey hair, bright yellow jacket, skateboards past us with a defiant look on her face. I love London.
I hate this city when…
I’m late. London smells of exhaust fumes, the pavements are hot underneath my feet. I rush to get the tube, even though I hardly ever get the tube. I miss a train and decide to take the District line and change at Monument to the Central line. Because I never take the tube I don’t realise that I’m making a huge mistake.
I get off the train at Monumement and I start walking. Did I mention I hate the tube? There are long corridors and I try not to think about how much dirt, cables and Victorian piping there is between me and the street above. I had my first panic attack going up the escalator at Angel. I try not to think about this as I get to the first set of escalators. I travel further down. There are more corridors. More escalators. And then the signs for the red Central line point me towards more escalators, this time going up again.
I try not to hold my breath. My palms go sweaty every time I think of the escalators in the tube these days. Maybe I’m suffering from some kind of escalator phobia? But I’m trapped somewhere near the Central line at Bank station and I have no choice. I walk up the escalators. Eventually I get out. Choose to abandon the tube altogether and get a bus instead. I turn up late. I hate this city.
Image by Alejandro Escamilla.