London + Neverwhere.

This time last week I was on Bankside, doing a good impression of a carefree tourist. You know, walking too slowly, looking at the river, pointing at buildings. “Oh look, that looks like..”
any number of things I’ve seen in Sherlock.

I’d taken my daughters to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe. My Bellatrix giggled, snorted and was transfixed equally. Marnsly too. I rather enjoyed gawking at John Light, playing Oberon, in awe of his torso, (fucking beautiful it was, I wanted to grab it and nuzzle it, and was thinking baaaaaad thoughts ) and one of the fairies, in an amazing corset, giving her amazing bosom a cleavage that made me flush…which makes me want to get a new corset…..and I’m blushing again*tut tut* Anyway, it was funny, clever and made me wish I could afford to see more theatre.

Anyway, for a fiver to stand in the Yard, it was a bargain. I loved it. I studied Theatre for A-level, was a member of several youth theatres and performed a physical theatre piece at the Edinburgh Fringe. I also toured Germany with several pieces, and collaborated with a German youth theatre to produce another. Showing off was my hobby, to disguise my shyness……..
…I was going to study performance at University, but I didn’t get there. Another story.

I can’t believe I ever did that, it feels like someone else now . I’d be terrified, the thought of travelling around in a shitty minibus for 2 weeks with a bunch of semi-strangers, who you are trusting with your life ( we threw and caught each other on stage, it was that kind of physical theatre. Bit wanky), is not a thing I could do these days.

But maybe I could.
I’ve just spent the weekend in London, doing lots of things that make me anxious. I had a long car journey at the end of a long busy week. Stayed in a hotel, travelled on the Underground, went to a theatre, walked miles, ate in a restaurant…all when I had really bad IBS.
I coped really well, I enjoyed myself so much that I felt right at home- I’m originally from West London, but left when I was 11- and still feel homesick for London.
I felt really free on the Tube, and I love the Tube map. I love the colours, the curves, the fact it has no real connection with the London above. The names, beautifully archaic and workmanlike modern, always make me think of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

Originally a T.V. series, the product of Neil Gaiman and Lenny Henry, it was made into a fantastic, fantasy novel by Gaiman, an amazing writer.
I’m not going to rehash it, just Google it, many better writers than me have written beautiful things about this crazy scary world of London Below.

One day, I’m going to go to London by myself, buy my Travelcard, and spend the day travelling on the Tube. I’m going to photograph the shiny tiles, the grubby corners, the old bits of Underground that peek through the modern paint. I’m going to find an Angel in Islington, a Blackfriar, find feathers in Old Bailey. I will spend the day standing, swaying and smelling that dirty air. The rush of warm and cool air with its strange interplay, the flickering lights,it all feels like home to me. For an agoraphobic, it’s a strange passion.

If anyone wants me, I’m Below.


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