I love London, I really do; it contains some of the greatest buildings I have ever seen, its’ museums contain some of the most beautiful historical, archaeological and geological artefacts in the world. London has art galleries, cafés, world class universities and is the seat of not just our Monarchy and Parliament, but also of a great number of academic, professional and other societies. The people of our capital are supposed to be some of the friendliest people in the country, and when you talk to them they often are.
Yet, whenever I visit London – be it for a day or for a week – I try to walk everywhere that I can, as it’s cheaper and often gives you so much more to see than the underground railway (I’ve yet to have the pleasure of the London Busses). Being the chap that I am – or at least try to be – I say hello to people and tip my hat to the ladies, and every time I am disheartened and I mean that in no small way. I was in London recently for a meeting with one of the palaeontologists from the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity in the NHM, and of at least 50 people I greeted in the street between Waterloo Station and the NHM, guess how many responses I got…
…one of which was a grunt…!
Admittedly some of those who didn’t respond were listening to music on iPods and such, but it was not a large proportion. Perhaps it’s just me, perhaps I am just that old fashioned and out of touch that I am expecting too much, but wouldn’t it be better to be able to say hello to people and get a response? Wouldn’t it make people happier and perhaps more civil in general?
I don’t know what you think, but to me it seems that London is not unusual, but even in Southampton people say hi.
So is London a cultural capital or the loneliest place on Earth? I fear that it may be both, I for one would prefer just the former.
From the lonely soul in the crowd.