The rapport I have with any city can be shaky. Day-by-day, it can go either way. It’s a solitary existence being amid the noise and at first it’s hard to synchronise with its natural pace. This concerns me because to find good pictures, I need a high level of acuity for seeing what’s worth watching.
So, do I turn left, or right, cross the river, get on a train elsewhere – or labour again on a familiar route that more often stimulates the best encounters? It’s usually a sulk that decides.
There’s little point in fretting about the consequences of a spontaneous wrong turn. Yet too often, a walk feels like a waste of time, yielding too little reward – until the collision of picture and astrological coincidence immediately brings joy, and I can smile again.
I still catch glimpses of my younger self on the street corners I’ve passed-by for years. Standing across the road is an apparition of a young man with dark hair who has still to become a husband and father – still to chance upon photographs that will help age, and change him, for the better.
Every afternoon at closing time, the workers stride south over London Bridge, the almost-site in ancient times of the capital’s first river Thames crossing point. Determined by geography and geology, the original crossing was the ingenuity of Roman Londinium. In medieval London its role was for politics and ideas, for trade, ceremony and pilgrimage – and great turmoil.
So as Britain’s liquid history ebbs and flows, the Bridge is not just a concrete thoroughfare from the capital’s financial centre to the trains of suburbia, but a conduit to and from capitalism and desperate world influence.
The tidal population marches away from a modern federal Europe, over a Brexit drawbridge.