Stuck in the City

Journal

Stuck in the City

Sarah Jessica horse features might be on to something; Sex in the City is a whole lot better than being stuck in the city.

Today I was back down in London again for a couple of quick meetings when the nutters struck again. First I knew of it was when I went for some lunchtime shopping, and decided to pop up to Nike Town at Oxford Circus for a quick look at stuff I couldn’t really afford. In the shop all was well, but when I came back out the corner of Oxford Circus was getting pretty crowded. I hung a left and cut into Top Man for a quick gander in there, none the wiser.

When I emerged a whole line of buses are blocking the view of the other side of the street due to a bit of a traffic jam. This isn’t exactly unusual for Oxford Street on any given day other than Sunday, so I was oblivious to what was going on until I’d weaved my way through the traffic to cross the road. There I saw the Underground staff with their day-glo waistcoats, squinting in the sunlight, some guarding the shuttered station exits and others just standing chewing the fat.

For a reasonably clever guy like myself it didn’t take long to put two and two together, realise it was a Thursday, two weeks since the previous terrorist activity, and get a picture that something must have happened somewhere on the Underground network.

I made my way back to the lobby of the building where my next meeting was, and they had Sky News projected onto the wall. Man, if that channel becomes any more americanised in its hyperbole–rich coverage they’ll have to charge for it in dollars. “We can neither confirm, nor deny that explosions have taken place at Warren Street…” – so instead you’ll speculate wildly and raise the concern of the general public in some cheap ploy to garner viewing figures?

Anyhow, I left the Sky “news readers” to it and my meetings continued during the afternoon until just after four o’clock. Even then, three hours after the incident, I found the traffic grid-locked and the Tube suspended. In short – going nowhere fast.

Not life threatening, of course, just inconvenient, and I wasn’t really in any hurry. So I walked it all the way back from Golden Square to Euston in a bizarre, disaster–movie–esque human convoy. I’m reading the original War of the Worlds at the moment, and I couldn’t help but think of H. G. Wells’ accounts of the evacuation of London in the book.

What was good to see was everybody just getting on with it. I saw very few people arguing with the security services on my travels, apart from a few chancers who cut under the police tape, and it wasn’t too arduous a journey to Euston.

Stuck in the city? Well, only briefly, and I treated myself to a couple of new t-shirts and a pair of jeans on my way along Oxford Street, so I cant complain.