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30 August 2008 @ 07:16 pm
street haunting  
Much serious discussion with I. last night, about what we both wanted from life,  and whether his potential Middle East project is likely to make us enough money to make things a bit more secure – it’s clear his current job is about to end abruptly within weeks, and we’re both enough children of the Irish seventies and eighties to be uneasy at the prospect – and whether we would consider having a child at some point. Inconclusive but vaguely cathartic, though marriage raised its ugly head again, to my ill-concealed disdain. I.’s inscrutableness, despite how well I know his mind.  How someone can surprise, after so many years. I was pleased he felt so seriously about my novel.
A pleasant, rather solitary week overall – which I’m enjoying, as we have friends to stay next week, and then are going to Ireland for a few days, and then a conference. Still struggling with the ongoing academic chapter, but the end heaving into sight, perhaps – staying at my desk all day, and then taking long walks as it gets dark. I love this time of the year – the slight dipping of the light towards autumn, ugly streetlights in the dusk, a funfair packing up in the park, floodlit tennis courts,  grubby rows of drooping curtains and bins giving way to restored Victorian tiles and pots of lavender, then kebab joint, hairdresser, Indian takeaway, Turkish deli, caff, pub, pizzeria,  halal butcher (with grimacing sheepheads in the window), Polish bar, hardware, chipshop, kebab joint. I can have periods of total clear-headed love for it all, the waiters from the Indian restaurant smoking in the doorway, blank-faced commuters walking home shut between their earphones,  a man putting a tray of oily pastries in the window of a shop, our grim-faced Sikh newsagent putting porn magazines on the top shelf, the drycleaner’s pulling down its shutters on the two sinister tailor’s dummies in the window. It’s stupid to be sentimental about London, and really I feel like leaving increasingly, but it tugs, nonetheless.

Narcissus poeticusroomette on August 31st, 2008 07:49 am (UTC)
Seattle is all that wet metal smell after a rain and the sound of the joints of the creaking and groaning like it is in the early stages of labor. Too many well dressed people these days. The old industrial area is all but scrubbed clean and there's not as many pigeons as there once were...I wonder why that is. I know some of what you are talking about. I used to have a city like that but it feels like someone took the puzzle pieces out of the box while I was gone and I can't make the picture I remember.

Here's to hoping that the academic writing decides to go to bed and soon your other work will take its place. I went running in the dark the other night and very oddly but appropriately sent you wishes for your book. I'll make you pay rent if you keep stealing that corner of my head. :) I'm excited for you, though.

Seaweedsmellingbottle on August 31st, 2008 11:58 am (UTC)
I think I've lost track of where you physically are these days (are you/were you planning aonther move?) though I'm reading whenever you post - and meant to comment that you looked ravishing, if tense, in that waiting photograph. Thank you for the 'please go away academic work' wishes - and I'm unreasonably pleased to be thought of while someone is running after nightfall...
old_blackold_black on August 31st, 2008 08:03 am (UTC)
"...It’s stupid to be sentimental about London, and really I feel like leaving increasingly, but it tugs, nonetheless..."
Aren't you being other than just sentimental, though? It sounds to me that the diversity and character that you live amongst has a real impact on how you see yourself as well as how you see the wider world around you. And anyway, what's stupid about sentiment?
[I really know nothing, I think what I'm saying is "This was a really interesting post, please say some more!"]
Seaweedsmellingbottle on August 31st, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)
I suppose it's that I never in the least wanted to live in London, as I'm small town and rural to the core - I'd always preferred places you could see the edges of - but I. had lived in Oxford for my sake for years, and I'd agreed the next move was his to choose. And I did find it hard livng here originally - the noise, the litter, the tube at rush hour - I wasn't particularly seduced by the idea of living in the capital. But I think I'm still a bit taken aback at how an affection for our undistinguished, unlovely corner of north London has crept up on me without me noticing. (I should probably say that the reason I'm now spending more time walking on the streets is because several women have been mugged in daylight along my usual running track!) I must try to think it through properly.
richendarichenda on August 31st, 2008 08:03 am (UTC)
Thank you for this! We often feel nostalgic for East London, which we both loved at different times, especially the sense of complete safety at night, with a late open shop on every corner, and the wonderful food.
Can't remember which part you are - if I ever knew
Apologies that i don't often respond to your posts, but when I see the chair icon I always know that there will be something interesting or touching or both.
Seaweedsmellingbottle on August 31st, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
Where you live sounds ravishing to me - and much more the kind of place I would have said I'd be happy, if you'd asked me a few years ago. I don't tend to be specific about where I am, because I like being anonymous on here, but I'm north, rather than east London, but one of its grubbier bits, though more gentrified than it was a few years ago.