Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
2005.03.16 : Considering Myself a Londoner

"London has always been a city of immigrants. It was once known as 'the city of nations' . . . 'here was a centre of worldwide experiences' with outcasts, refugees, travellers and merchants finding a 'place of refuge, of news and an arena for the struggle of life and death'. It was the city itself which seemed to summon them, as if only in the experience of the city could their lives have meaning . . . It has often been remarked that, in other cities, many years must pass before a foreigner is accepted; in London, it takes as many months. It is true, too, that you can only be happy in London if you begin to consider yourself as a Londoner. It is the secret of successful assimilation."
         - Peter Ackroyd, London, The Biography


friend.o.mine@host.tld wrote on Wed, 16 Mar 2005:
>
> what do you love about london?


What I love about London: I love walking a single block and
hearing 5 languages and 12 accents. I love that feeling of
dread that I'm irretrievably missing out on the raging river
of cultural opportunities that's constantly racing by. I love
the glowing clock face on the top of the ShellMex building
peering over the Victoria Embankment Gardens. I love the
reflection of the Houses of Parliament at night on the
Thames, and listening to Big Ben chime its groovy little
dance number from the foot of Westminster Bridge. I love the
walkability, the endless neighborhoods, the electric maze of
Soho at night. I love the Royal Parks, and the almost-always-
temperate but never-boring weather, and I love never knowing
when I'm going to meet someone flabbergastingly interesting
(and doing so with some regularity).

I love the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern, possibly the
world's coolest room - and I love how verily the Modern is
such a truly public space, where you can go and have coffee
and sit and watch the lights of the Wobbly Bridge tracking to
St. Pauls, or walk around, or sit on the floor, and people-
watch, unlike some stuffy galleries where you're actually
expected to look at the art and but unless you want to then
you can look at one of the greatest collections in the world
for free. I love the British Museum and how you can hardly
tear yourself away from the Great Court to start not even
putting even a dent even in just everything that's worth
looking at in, say, the Enlightenment Hall.

I love watching Team America: World Police in *The National
Film Theatre* and I *really* love the sprawling table
booksellers out front of the NFT every day. I love emerging
into the dingy dawn of Brixton in the morning after eight
straight hours of clubbing - and being twice as energized as
when I got there. I love Londoners and how they're aware of
how much greater and important the Capital is compared to the
rest of the country, but in a low-key very English kind of
way. I love how only about half the people you meet in London
are British - but I also love that half.

I love the Christmas lights in Bow Lane in the City and the
freak snowfalls and Brightening Up London (and I hope they
bring it back). I love my mates and knowing that, hell or
high water, we'll be at a pub drinking and talking come
Friday night. I love that there's an entire weekly magazine
devoted solely to things you can and should be doing out in
London. I love the Saturday Guardian and the Indpendent on
Sunday and knowing I can get a New York Times anytime I
really want one. I love the bookstores on Charing Cross Road
and the Jazz Cafe in Foyles. I love the Wildlife Photographer
exhibition at the Natural History Musuem - and that you can
pop to the side and see an elephant fetus head in a jar in
the Darwin Centre.

I love Korean food in New Malden and falafel wraps in Borough
Market and being able to get a veg somosa on virtually any
street corner. I love all the money to be made (useful if
you're going to live someplace this expensive.) I love the
curving crescents of the streets in Kensington and the
stately walkups and the rose gardens out front. I love the
comfy couches of the Builders Arms W8 and the chocolate lab
sleeping under a bench at the Britannia off of Kensington
High Street.

I love my Oyster card and being able to go anywhere. I love
the adventure of the night buses. I love the whole south
bank, especially at night, with its galleries and restaurants
and the theatres and museums and destroyers and open-air
theatre and that incomparable Victorian folly, Tower Bridge.
I love that smaller Victorian folly, the Albert Bridge, and
also a cotton-candy-and-bruised-thigh-flesh sunset behind the
Albert Memorial, or setting behind the Circular Lake, in
Kensington Gardens.

I love running across the street from work to the National
Portrait Gallery and finding the portrait that's on the cover
of my volume of John Stuart Mill. I love that even when I get
really depressed, I'm still knocked out by, and by being in,
London. I love that the Olympics would *demean* London (and
that, happily, we probably won't get them.) I love the
Artilleryman's Memorial at Wellington Arch. I love walking up
the 8000 stairs out of Angel Station. I love the second-hand
shops and the stellar people watching on Notting Hill Gate. I
love the sunshine and breeze on St. Pauls churchyard.

I could go on.


  art     culture     london  
about
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (2014); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of spec-ops zombie apocalypse dark action thrillers. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
DON'T SHOOT ME IN THE ASS, AND OTHER STORIES by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
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