It struck me today, not while there was a bad service on the Underground this morning, but rather this evening during my time contemplating the world while sitting behind the train that had broken down at Moorgate, that I think I know what my major problem with London is. Or, put another way, I think I know what one of the major problems with me and London is.

Mostly, I am calm. Not outwardly, mind, outwardly I sometimes (just sometimes) tend to rant a bit. Or rail against the injustices in the world. And big government. Mostly big government. But inwardly, I am calm. I like uncluttered-ness. I avoid television, but when I must (Top Gear being an obvious exception) I most definately avoid commercial television. (Which sidesteps my misgivings about the BBC. But that isn’t the point here. Nor is the point about the disasterous programmes on commercial television.) The reason being I can’t stand adverts. Posters, billboards, handouts. Signage, frontage, reportage. Every square inch of the square mile covered with advertisements. Screaming at me to buy their books, book tickets to their plays, wear their perfume.

How can so many be immune to this? It ends up being a vicious cycle. Those Londoners ignore it, so it has to get more pervasive. My old route to work took me by none of this. A trundle, me and Caitlin, around some East Anglian backroads. Gentle and stately. None of this push and shove and engineering works on the line.

But that isn’t it. It is the pushing of products, at every available opportunity. I understand why, it just doesn’t do my nice clean (now now) mind any good. Tao is easy when there is just you and the endless East Anglian skyscapes. Then we have road signs. Consider even one street. Every two metres there is another telling you this, that, or you must pay RedKen more tax, for that is what occupies The Left, envy of the rich, and the socialistic determination to drag everyone down to the lowest common denominator.

How can anyone relax, look up, look down, look in, if all that assaults their eyes is a riot of colour and words? I am not advocating a ban or anything, quite the opposite, I am just saying I can’t cope with it. Does this mean I am now Cambridge, unable to cope with life outside here? But in my own special way, of course.

Or maybe there are just aspects of modern life I don’t get. The regimated and timetabled slavish adherence to the clock, the inability to just stop and be. I don’t have any answers, I just know what drives me. And I prefer that to be dictated at my pace, in my way, and by me. Not with the screaming defined by the blur of colour and pop-culture passing me these days.

  1. There is a solution, though whether or not you have the nerve to do this I don’t know. It’s wearing dark glasses, not just any dark glasses but ones that block everything out leaving you like ‘Mr Wonder what that is’. Also you’ll need to obtain a ‘long white stick’. Then there’ll be a few hours of training of how to use the stick. Then ‘Hey Presto’ no more adverts screaming at you :-)

    Wed 07 Feb, 8:54PM

  2. You know what? I was just bemoaning to myself the amount of advertising in Belfast. I was wondering if it shouldn’t be licensed in some way. Of course I dismissed the idea after realising it was going to require some government agency to protect me from it all. Oh foolish boy! what utter utter madness.

    Thu 08 Feb, 1:42PM

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