editor had his thirtieth celebrations last night, which were for me immediately preceded by a witless stumble through the roughs and wilds east of King’s Cross to reach Clerkenwell. After the party, without particularly planning to, I walked back across London some four miles to the bus stop. Half-lost, largely alone and entirely the long way round.
rickbot and his co-travellers had leapt eagerly into a taxi, leaving me with a smudge of kohl surmounted by a purple hat. The kohl suggested we catch a number, oh, twenty-five? Eleven? From Ludgate Hill, past Marble Arch to wherever she wanted to go (I hope the kohl in question forgives my memory; I’m reconstructing all of this with help from Streetmap if that gives you any idea about its state), so as a mode of transport it should’ve been ideal for both of us. I agreed, because knowing you’re heading south only helps if you know what you’re also west and north of. But the first bus was wrong for me, and I was left to fend for myself. I don’t know much about London buses, but I know how my feet work. Late-night London has tested them before, to the tune of six miles. I was drunk then, as well.
vigornian was saying at the party that corners of Paris, seen glancingly and without serious concentration, might as well be the elements of a montage of London: the architecture, the spans of the Eye or Eiffel, and green stretches with Georgian (Clovisian?) buildings sat either side of them like old, bearded men. In the same way, London snapshoots seem much like ones taken of other areas of London. I spent some time looking for the bus stops near St James’ Park, which I took for Hyde Park; Hyde Park Corner’s arches were also too similar to Marble Arch itself for my booze-racked brain. There were false-false friends too, with Aldwych looking surprisingly like Aldwych, only approached from the wrong end.
(He also mentioned the lack of orthogonality at London junctions as being uniquely British, and exasperating for visitors: had the Strand been as westerly as I’d thought there wouldn’t have been any of this nonsense and I’d have got home before four.)