I can pin the last time I had that feeling down to the minute.
Sunday 13th April, 2014. 1.36pm.
Listen, I know I can’t complain about my life. I have a job I love and a wonderful girlfriend; I am healthy and have stayed out of destitution; I have good friends and live in a city I adore.
This is all fantastic but over all these elements I have at least a relative degree of control; this, sadly for a control freak like me, is not the case with everything, and of the things over which I have little or no control there are just two which really influence me: politics and football.
At 1.36pm on Sunday 13th April, 2014, Liverpool were playing Manchester City at Anfield. With the team on a Luis Suárez-inspired charge towards the Premier League title, Philippe Coutinho had put us 3-2 up against our only realistic challengers for the trophy. With only a minute or two to go, the game was essentially won. The title was all but in the bag. We could relax.
At that moment, in the 93rd minute, midfielder Jordan Henderson was shown a straight red card for a violent tackle on City winger Samir Nasri – and the world I dreamed of began to disintegrate. Continue reading
For some time now, I have been complaining that I haven’t bumped into any famous people. When Dick Whittington came to London, it was with the promise that the streets were paved with gold; I was under the impression that they were paved with celebrities. I don’t know why I clung to this idea so. I’m hardly a fawning fan-girl, waiting to scream her head off at any Z-lister that appears; indeed, I’m a chromosome’s leg short of a uterus. I think I just find it odd that people who have previously only been represented to me in pixels and on paper can actually take a full, three-dimensional, human form, presumably with a consciousness and/or a soul.
Well, I have finally broken my duck, in an especially topical way. This morning, I read that Rowan Williams’ successor as Archbishop of Canterbury has been all but confirmed as Bishop of Durham Justin Welby. This evening, I was next to him on the tube. I even gave up the opportunity of a seat for him. (How very Christian of me.)
Or at least… I think it was him. Here is the problem with my ambition to meet famous people: I suck at faces. (Not literally.) I know a lot of people think they are bad at faces but, at the risk of appearing solipsistic or wannabe-non-conformist, I suck worse. I can’t remember them; I can’t describe them; I have trouble recognising even those that I know best. If people change their hair, clothes or weight, I’m completely screwed. I have a terrible fear that I will be the only witness to a horrible crime, relied upon to describe the suspect, and the best I will manage will be: “Black/white, tall/short, dressed/naked.”
Bishop Justin Welby
How I remember the features of Bishop Justin Welby
Therefore, I will be completely penitent if Bishop Welby turns out to be one of my many readers and can inform me that in fact he was nowhere near Tottenham Court Road station this evening. However, it’s almost as if the good bishop was going out of his way to ensure that I recognised him.
I have a tube map on my wall.
This is a new development. As I made clear in a previous post, I am not a Londoner. I’ve lived my life in a medium-sized Cambridgeshire town, not big enough to be considered urban but not small enough to be truly rural; not close enough to any city to be considered a suburb but with a direct train link to Kings Cross to prevent the feeling of true independence. Yes, I had cows within walking distance of my house, but I also had a Costa Coffee.
Tufnell Park — there’s no park here! (Photo by Sunil060902)
However, while I seemed to be floating along in this undefinable purgatory, the metropolis was slowly swallowing me. I felt it. A very close friend of mine lives in London, meaning I was visiting more frequently; an Oyster card materialised in my wallet; and finally, I was struck to apply to do an MA at University College London, the Londoniest place you could study. Continue reading