I wrote this last summer, and having departed ‘the City’ in particular if not in general it’s nice to look back from the surprisingly friendlier world of a running shop in Canary Wharf. I suspect I’ll never be able to produce a wad of £50 notes when faced with a malfunctioning card machine standing in between me and an expensive running watch, but I’m not sure I’d want the capacity to either. Sure, I know that James Watt and Matthew Bolton share space on the highest denominational note, but the pair haven’t seen the inside of my pockets! There’ll be more proper writing soon. Perhaps.
He’ll pull a fast one every time, but never pull a punch,
He’ll solely look out for himself, on alert for a free lunch.
The city boy, not city man, he runs from consequence,
Who cares who pays the later pound; As long as he can squeeze some pence.
If there’s a bus, he’ll throw you under,
He’ll bolt a moment after thunder,
He’d buy a lion, but no heart,
He’ll always duck doing his part.
Of course he’ll work and grind away,
Most waking hours that fill the day,
But only when this serves his pay,
He’ll always keep his morals grey.
Upon such men a city’s built,
Upon a river, harbours guilt.
What once was stone now shining screen,
A bleak lament for what has been.
On a perfectly normal bus journey, on a regular day in London, a thought occurred. For the past two days, I had made my way in on the tube, a journey completed in a darkened, subterranean world. The supply of light, air and assorted visual stimuli journeying on the bus was comparatively gratuitous.
And yet I felt frustrated, anxious, jittery. It was too slow, almost unbearably arduous, and uncomfortably stop-start in its movement.
As the bus moved ponderously around another corner, I realised why. As I sat there, my time was wasting away, time I knew that I could spend in a thousand different ways, however I wished. The word displayed across the front of the building opposite read: ‘rapidity’. Speed. Time.
I was unwilling to accommodate anything in my day that was slower than the fastest possible option. Time takes the lead, at the cost of comfort, interest, and even cost. I couldn’t bear to sit for an hour, knowing that I could get there in less than half the time propelled underground in a metal cylinder.
As an aspiring journalist, this hit me quite profoundly. If I couldn’t stand any degree of delay in getting around, how could I permit it in that most valuable of commodities, my information? Why should anyone choose to wait for more refined accuracy and better quality information in basic news when a satisfactory product that does the job is available almost instantaneously?