Most of the time Shoreham, and Brighton for that matter, are really wonderful, lovely places to be, and I am happy here, and happy to call this place home. But sometimes, coincidentally nearly every time I spend any amount of time in the city (also known as The City), the slowness and relative smallness of this place makes me yearn for the endless activity of London.
I went to a conference on Friday in Shoreditch, home of the hipsters, as the internet will gladly let you know. The conference took place at Amnesty International’s London Headquarters, and centered around ethical consumption and was pretty intense, really. My two co-workers and I left before the day’s last session ended, a little worn out from the seriousness and infighting, and wandered off to get some air. Then we decided that going to the Tate Modern would be a great idea, the idea of modern art and a walk along the Thames to take the edge off a big day sounding pretty fantastic.
We hopped on the tube and got off at London Bridge, then did a solid mosey down the river, over the cobbled streets, past Shakespeare’s Globe, and through the throngs of tourists and serious working London types and the early autumn sunshine twinkled on the river and things were gorgeous. The Tate had its usual stuff and did that thing of reminding me of the scene in Ferris Bueller at the art museum where they all get lost in their own thoughts while staring at various paintings, but with a lot more surrealism and abstract pieces involved. There are several Dalis and Picassos in those rooms, after all. It’s a very dreamy place! They have a new exhibition on Russian Revolutionary posters that I found fascinating, and so imposing and so…red. Really red. It was great.
Eventually my co-workers and I decided a drink or two was in order, so we went to the restaurant/bar on the top floor of the Tate and ordered some wine. The views from up there are amazing, and the wall facing the river is floor to ceiling glass, making a coveted seat along it hard to come by. We managed to find a little table and had the kind of talks you can have with people that you like, but haven’t gotten to know well yet, and it gives you the tingles in your brain and heart because you’re having such a nice, unexpected time with good people.
Finally we trickled off-a coworker had to get the train back down south to pick up her daughter, another’s friend (a stunningly beautiful and heartbreakingly sweet London surgeon) came to join us, and I decided to be responsible and leave them to their evening plans. Walking back along the river to get to London Bridge, I was struck by that same longing, wishing I was going home to my cozy little London flat with all of this at my doorstep, rather than fighting the crowds underground and taking an hour long train ride home to my sleepy flat by the sea.
Like I said, it is good here, it really is. But London-it really sucks you in, too.