They say the idea of new is alluring, and in London, there is always something new to lure you back in. From a new restaurant launch serving pasta better than Italy, a negroni only bar underground, adult ball pits and igloos on a river, the city is always competing to better itself against the backdrop of it’s iconic skyline. It can be a tapestry of memories, waiting for you to stitch on a new square and a maze, ready to for you to get lost in again. It seems though, bar the guidance of some new friends and old faces, I’ve been getting lost and not making discoveries for a few more months than I’d like.
Sometimes, you want the security and comfort of something not so new, not so fast paced, not so fast and something familiar.
Whilst this year has been a maelstrom of change, not all change was good. I grew away from my best friend, a sister, and with it, the city changed too. I left my hated, mouldy and cold flat that I payed extortionate amounts for in beloved Brixton and realised it was a sanctuary I was unlikely to get back in an instant. My parents suddenly became a consideration, whilst before, ashamedly they were an afterthought, my sisters became my best friends and my home town beckoned me back with open arms and an even sturdier embrace.
So I’ve moved, back to Manchester, where the commute isn’t a gaggle of harrassed looking pigeons, but instead diligent worker bees, buzzing with friendliness and smiles; the city is in fact walkable; the coffee still affordable; the air isn’t toxic and people don’t just walk on the left, they stride with pride down the street. You can order chips with gravy at every chippy, rather than a pop up in Shoreditch and it rains almost everyday.
It’s a big change, and the city I once grew up in is as familiar as London was to me 4 years ago, with its brand new bars and cosmopolitan vibe, I’m still very much getting used to it all.
London can be a land of opportunity but also loneliness. It can make you big and very small. It will swallow you up if you let it and I very much almost did with everything that happened this year.
I miss the buzz of London, true, and I go and get my hit of it every couple of weeks, see Jenny from the Block, Mattias, Agathe, brown Beauty, Cuttsy, Nik and all the other maddens that helped me love London so much, but for now, I get to come back to Mother Manc, consider my family, maybe cook in lieu of ALL the restaurants I may be missing out on, read some books cos god knows I never had the time, see the rest of the world and when I go to London, actually see the bits that make it great, because for once, I’ll be more able to afford it…
London, I’ll be back, for sure, I’m certain, to live and breathe and give myself black lung. But I’ve taken up a new lover for now. I’m young, don’t judge me for playing the field.