Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The return of the native - six years in.

I have now been back in London for six years after an extended period abroad. It was a perverse time to leave in a way. A life - long socialist I fled soon after an apparently left wing government was elected. Perhaps I knew It’d be a very mixed blessing. The longer I was away the less my home seemed to have to do with me. Going to war in Iraq, introducing fees for students, rendition, the hysterical reaction to  Diana’s death and the advent of Big Brother just confused me. I began to feel like a refugee from Blair's Britain. When it was apparent my exile was not going to be permanent I worried about what I was coming back to.  A few aspects of life in blighty upon reflection were very helpful in aiding what was a tricky but ultimately sucessful  readjustment.

From here....

to here....

2) The internet. I was abroad for a long time and upon my return my old friends were pleased to see me but were wrapped up in domesticity, corporate warriordom or quite often both. At the same time life abroad is coloured by constant challenge, change and your average expat is unsettled, volatile and eccentric. You are also thrown into social life, in London no one comes looking for your company. I sent a plea to a Scots dandy, he suggested the Chap magazine, old friends from the Goth scene were on-line. A presence on chat rooms meant I had acquaintances at least. Had the internet not become a phenomena in my absence my return could have been very cold. 

Sheridan/New Sheridan clubbites.

3) The Sheridan Club and New Sheridan Club. I’m not saying I get on like a house on fire with everyone involved but I have never been bored and I am easily bored. The Chap magazine crowd and the later incarnations of the NSC have provided more interesting conversations, been more entertaining and the source of more good nights out than I could have imagined: these people are ace.  Those people who rail on about 'elitism, conservatism and public schools twittery' do not actually know the people involved or are just inepts who have no sense of humour, irony or understanding. 

4) Female company. I’m not a girly girl, I don’t want to fanny around prams or witter on about  men, in fact traditionally I prefer male company but since returning to this country and partially via the bunch above I have met women who are lovely and I enjoy being with. Karen H, Sue G, Fleur, Mai, Maria, Lisa H, Naomi, Renee,the Helenas, Ali, Isobel, Bethan, Hannah and the massed Gemmas et al. I salute you. Heres to more cocktails.
Girls and a beard....
 5) The so called ‘vintage scene’ because I like hats, Northern Soul, carry on films, thirties frocks, rock n’roll, quiffs, rockabilly, cabaret, Glenn Miller, Lotte Lenya, Pathe films, red lipstick, Russian constructivism, naughty undies, posh cocktail bars, old Pullman carriages, art deco, seaside towns, Noel Coward and music hall. And I never need be alone. 

6) Booze. It is better now than when I left. At that point pubs were not even becoming gastro pubs they were all themed. The wine tasted like pipe cleaning fluid and you still couldn’t have a quiet drink without being harassed. Cocktails were entirely the province of places like TGI Fridays and the beer was all Stella like lagers. Whilst I returned to binge drinking and shots and gastro pubs at least the latter had some decent plonk. More notably though was the return of the classy cocktail and the glamorous bar. Having lived in a country where cocktails are ruinously expensive I could even bear the cost.

7) The bearded man, drives me crazy sometimes but one of the best things about life in London.

1 comment:

Gemma said...

I am glad you're back in Londinium :D HUZZAH! x


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