Monday, January 15, 2007

Locking my bike to a fence in Hackney, I’m hit by the sudden tingeing smell of Geranium; it’s January in London, and these plants do not normally survive outside in this time of year. This is the warmest January I can recall, a spookily mild winter. Easier to bear, but not so good for my food storage: with not enough electricity to run a fridge, I’m keeping food in cold storage in the yard, in a big plastic box. But day temperatures are over 10 degrees Celsius, and outside is not that cold.

If this warmth is part of Climate Change, Act One, the rest of the play will not be as comfortable. Not only this summer is predicted to be the hottest ever; the longer term might see a much colder England. Melting ice-caps mean the slowing-down of the Gulf Stream, which is keeping this island warm. Without the Gulf Stream they say London will feel more like Montreal (which is actually further south in terms of latitude).

* * *

On the bendy bus near Liverpool Street Station, a white man jumps in through the back door, a glass in his hand, with a slice of orange in it. He looks in his late twenties, perhaps a student, but more likely an office person. He smells of vodka. The driver’s voice, an African accent, comes through the loudspeakers:

the man with the glass at the back, you can’t take the glass on the bus.
The man gulps down his drink in haste, then throws the glass through the bus open doors on the pavement. The glass breaks into a thousand pieces.

The bus deriver’s tired voice on the loudspeakers:

Have you no brains at all?

The man waits for one second, ‘NO’ he says with anger, then stumbes off to find a seat.

* * *

Kuffia, the traditional Arab rural headscarf for men, is becoming trendy in London. It seems to have moved beoyond the niche-market of wannabe-radical students outside SOAS college. I see a few people wearing it every day especially in hip cafes and so forth. I read somewhere it is actually manufactured in China by Israeli businessmen, and I wouldn't be surprised.


dodeckahedron said...

well, i do miss london.

RUINIST said...

Yeah I have also been watching this item of apparel come back into it was just back in the 80's here...