Rambling on Basalgette in the London Night

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Bazalgette . . . on a bridge . . . under a bridge . . .

Can’t effing sleep! Honestly my body clock doesn’t know which way it is going these days – late, early, nocturnal, occasionally even normal! And hey – here’s my blog, my almost ignored blog, the perfect place to moan into the void in the not-so-small hours! What the heck do I do now? Carry on lying here? Go out on some loopy bike ride around London to greet the dawn? See if any shops are still open somewhere and buy something weird?

Funny thing – I love being outside, especially riding old Basalgette (my bike) through the quiet streets. The nice thing about cycling is that you become transient and removed from the world you pass through – you flit by and are gone, with little involvement with people. I seem to be becoming increasingly allergic to physicality these days. The more time passes, the stranger and more alien human interaction seems. It’s not that I don’t like people – quite the reverse. I LOVE people. But meeting people in the flesh, actually talking to people, it all feels like some weird performance I am supposed to be involved in – and quite simply and literally it sometimes feels as though I have forgotten how to do it. Forgotten how to talk . . .

If I ever knew.

In the face of that, isolation is very seductive. But if so, then why am I living here? And I suppose loving it in some weird way? If there’s one place where it is impossible to ever be alone, it is here in London. Oh you can be lonely, it’s probably the easiest place in the country to be lonely – but never alone, the strange paradox of the city. Even as I spin through the streets at 4AM there is always something . . . .

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Some figure hunching their way onwards, presumably with some mysterious destination in mind that you will never know.

The homeless huddled in corners – a lot more of them now, no surprise. they leave you feeling almost guilty that the world has not yet destroyed you, only them.

The occasional police who you strut past almost proudly (“look, I’m not committing a crime, isn’t that nice!”). Is it possible to strut on a bike? It is on Basalgette!

The drunks who, temporarily changing the rules of how the world functions, excitedly drag you into some brief clash of interaction, leaving you staring after them almost puzzled.

Some girl crying in the distance and every bone aches to ride over and offer help but then a million news and opinion articles and blog posts hammers a massive ‘fuck you’ as a reward for ever breaching that isolation straight between your eyes and you very quickly take the other road – then spend the rest of the night feeling sick with spiritual pollution and confusion.

The street poet who catches you during some pause and spouts words at you that on these night streets resonate as strong as any book, so you empty your wallet of change.

The shop-keepers of the little all-night stores that sell everything from European sausages to exhausted fruit via every kind of junk food you can imagine. Usually they just glower at you no matter what you say – but just occasionally you run into something else and exchange a small smile.

The drug-addled, probably the least dangerous people of all, glancing at you vaguely and analysing what universe you happen to reside in.

Even some maddie who is desperately trying to convey that one vital message, over and over again, to a world that really and genuinely isn’t listening. And again, do you say ‘I hear you’ or do you take the other road? There’s a lot of other roads in London. In that respect, the city seems infinite.

Ah well – I doubt many can be bothered to read this crap – so here’s another picture of the night time London instead.

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Published in: on March 13, 2014 at 4:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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