Tuesday, February 4, 2014

London Bridge is Falling Down: The City of WhoLock

By Caitlyn Tendick

I could describe how the Tower of London isn't really a tower at all, or try to explain to you the slightly offensive man that hangs out in Trafalgar Square with a hawk.  I could tell you about the Underground and explain the unique scent that bellows from the tube openings or I could tell you about how the city is overwhelmingly massive and a force to be reckoned with.  I have heard many times about how magnificent
London is and there are plenty of travelers, bloggers and writers that I’m sure could paint that city in such a way that makes you believe that the clocks are dripping with gold and the royalty has left its mark in jewels everywhere you go.  The thing is, London isn't a town for poetics.  I think to give it poetics actually does it a disservice.

I was there with two friends this past November and while I had been there before, I think I enjoyed the city much more the second time. It is big and it is overwhelming and it is hard to take everything in all at once.  Now, there are plenty of stories I could tell you about my trip there; all of which seem so insignificant and monumental when I think of them now.  But, since my blog mainly seems to be about stories and about writing (or the lack thereof lately) I want to spend my time pointing something out to you fellow readers and travelers that I think does not get discussed enough.  London is no longer a real place.  It has ceased all economic or world power that we think it holds.  No. London is a story; a conglomeration of different tales and legends all combined into one anthology.

Think about it for a moment.

You have Big Ben where Peter, Wendy, Michael and John, all flew past on their way to Neverland and where Jack and Rose danced to Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade.

You have the old Dickensian streets playing out before your eyes, the dirt and the grit of a smoggy London filled night rolling through the alleyways and the twisting down the cobbled side streets that still exist.

You have Fleet Street, home of the demon barber and the tavern dedicated to him where you can get a fantastic meat pie and a glass of mulled wine.  Just ignore the image of a flashing blade as you exit that night and hope that the streets are a bit crowded as you weave back home on unsteady and travel logged feet.

You have the black smoke that reaches out from the gap on the London Underground, stealing away the people that are easily forgotten if the gap is not minded.  Out on the streets there are numerous the forgotten alley’s that we all pass without a second glance, never aware of the portals that are contained at their end.  Door and Neverwhere’s slew of characters are waiting down there.

Shakespeare’s Globe sits in the heart of this town, old stories of betrayal and murder playing out inside its dome while out on the outskirts of the nightlife and bustling roads, Charles Dickens house still sits.  His walls are covered with words he wrote a long long time ago and his writing desk still sits empty, waiting for another story to be composed. 

Connecting these two worlds is the infamous London bridge that we see knights riding across to go to jousting tournaments, carrying favors from their ladies while the bridge itself holds echoes of markets and women hanging from windows to call down to the men below.  Then, it is beneath these bridges that ghost stories were made and where hands reach up from the icy tombs they have been banished too, beckoning the lone wandering as they try to find their way home.

By Caitlyn Tendick 
All the while, Big Brother is apparently watching us in this city, giving a whole new meaning to the London Eye.  But, James Bond is protecting us, racing his numerous flashy cars up and down these roads while wearing designer suits bought from the shops in the ritzier part of town.

There’s Hogwarts Great Hall, Sherlock’s Baker Street, and the fear that the Doctor has instilled in us that something horrid happens here every single Christmas season.  You have Kings Cross Station with Platform 9 ¾ and while not fiction, the gruesome images of Jack the Ripper still haunt the passages leading through the forgotten parts of the city.

And let us not forget that Spike and Drusilla were once from here and that Oliver begged for more at some point in time.  Let’s also remember that Canary Wharf was attacked by Cybermen or that Nick's High Fidelity record store is tucked between other crumbling business in the cheaper side of town. 
RomComs have their lovers meet outside the National Gallery in front of the lions. Diagon Alley is hidden somewhere in this city an hidden inside the tunnels are tales of secret meetings and deceit.

There are countless moments that we think of when we think of Europe.  It calls up images of Arthurian Legend or pilgrimages from the Canterbury Tales.  London is always at the center of it all and has continued to be there throughout the ages of literature.  Because of this, it is with a firm hand and tone, that I am declaring London to no longer be the city in which we believe that Queen resides or one in which we even call a part of our world.

London, is not a real place. London, is a book that we somehow have the ability to step inside and have been granted the privilege to walk its pages.

You can find Caitlyn Tendicks pictures here at http://www.flickr.com/photos/97205176@N06/.  Go give her love and then like me on Facebook.
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