When I first moved to London when I was 20, I used to go and stand in Marks & Spencers because it reminded me of my mother and she is home to me. Marks & Spencers reminds me of home, I realise that makes me weird. But that place is so comforting.
When I got older, London became home to me and it is that which my soul misses. I don’t know if it is this week’s incessant rain or I just haven’t been spending enough time around friends, but I am homesick and I miss the familiar. The trouble is that nothing is familiar here and for some reason I feel it most through food. The supermarkets are different and the food is different, I can never get what I really want. I tell you, an over reliance on Marks & Spencers is like a crack addiction.
This sign, this place.
Other things I miss, there would be a thousand but I have to stop somewhere.
Scoop hazelnut gelato, Slim Jim’s Liquor Store – a seat at the bar and a laugh with Eamon, The V&A, Liberty, Movies at the Prince Charles, Walking the South Bank with someone special. Profiteroles. Croissants, really Canada, they aren’t that hard to make! Gallipoli on Upper Street, you know which one.
Raclette at Borough Market, Neal’s Yard Dairy, The tortellini at Giant Robot, Sexy Sunday daiquiris and guac at La Perla, Covent Garden, Tofu salad and a whole salted fish at Mien Tay Vietnamese on Kingsland Road, Pret’s Scrambled Egg and Roasted Tomato breakfast baguette. The walk from Highbury and Islington station to Angel station. Shoving on the tube, you gotta be kidding? Getting on the tube in full on fancy dress costume, oh hello Snow White! Hijinks in Hoxton Square late at night.
Heart skipping a beat on the dancefloor at Electricity Showroom. Marks and Spencers knickers. Dorothy Perkins shoes. The crazy homeless man with the fat ginger cat on a leash outside Angel tube. Stealing kisses on the DLR! The peanut buns stall in Chinatown. Brick Lane sample sales. Blaming it on the boogie. Crumpets. Rashers. Brown bread. People who wear floral. Naan bread. The Beatroot Cafe. St John’s vanilla donut.
The canals. Knowing where I am going when I get on the bus. Actual signage on the streets. Cocktails and fried tofu at The Drunken Monkey, Shoreditch. Berwick Street, Monica Gems, I practically grew up on that street. Getting on the Piccadilly Line at Heathrow.
You and you and you and you.