London is a really unfaithful lover

London flirts with you, she comes and grabs your attention; she smoothly touches your lips but softly and very briefly. She clearly knows what she is doing; she is totally in control and delighting herself with this sweet torture. Your imagination flies high and begins to draw an approximation of her most intimate, hidden and unexplored nooks and crannies of her voluptuous body. But London, instable and capricious, after a sexy turn suddenly disappears in the blink of an eye leaving you naked and absolutely exposed to her will. Her smell now sinks into your no longer naive and virginal blood and your mind obsessively repeats that insufficient friction of her skin with your face. This short but extremely intense encounter has changed your paradigm and hooked you for life. At this point in time, there is no way back, you belong to her, she can keep you in between her legs; or that’s where you think you would love to be. This love story unlike the real ones, only leaves one lovebird hurt after the days of wine, sweat and roses. There is only one possible victim, and only one person to blame.

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It is difficult to say something new about this prolific, malicious but delicious city where the only unattainable goal is to get consistent sunshine even during the summer period. Any other wish could be achieved with enough notes from the Queen or enough sustained efforts. This massive mass of crystal and cement containing 8 million souls is able to offer you the best opportunities you could dream of, and spit you out without warning or compassion the very next minute. But London, on her unlimited wisdom, manages to persuade her current victim to make the bed of her upcoming love. I have never wasted lots of time regretting, and even less when it comes to love, which always carries painful rose thorns in your side, but you need to be brutal in the way you end up with loves which kill, because they are usually the ones that never end. I have closed the chapter and shelved the book as I don’t want to wake up during the night expecting a last caress, or dreaming of her sexy voice calling me from the depths of our bedsheets. I am taking with me baggage full of memorable moments and kisses, but most of all the kisses that London did not give me and were due.

But the worst thing about London is not her erratic and selfish love but her lack of humanity. In this city, individualism and efficiency are brought to their maximum. Nowadays, I surprise myself bumping into other pedestrians if they are unfairly obstructing my way, and I become defensive when any shopkeeper talks to me more than expected. Almost all interactions outside of my working hours effectively occur with a machine, as this is the way it has been planned and I do enjoy the perfect synchrony of an artificial, mechanical interaction. When I fly south I become easily irritated when I have to wait or someone holds me for an extra second, me that not so long ago was always willing to wait a bit longer to pay to the pretty cashier.

If defining London is difficult, it’s even more difficult to define the Brits. They are one of a kind. I like Britons, they are good people. Easy people to like if you don’t value superficiality and you are willing to read in between the lines of emotionally restricted (if not pissed) huge left-riding hearts. I owe them a lot and my adopted Britishness felt hung out to dry just after the wheels had stopped touching the LHR runway. Brits are always upfront and they say what they think without analysing in detail the consequences of their acts. Generally speaking, they are not people really keen on establishing new relationships, but once they trust you, and it could take quite a while, you belong to their family as that guy with this weird accent that will never pronounce words as they do. British are competitive and always want to win but they never cheat – a model to be praised. Life has taught me delicately that my market niche is not winning but fighting until the really last second of the game, and not losing without blood on my hands and putting all I had on the table. In London, either you improve or you are dead, there is no other possible outcome.

It is equally important to remark the importance of not touching the Brits their British balls. Or they might respond dramatically. They could even take the crazy decision to leave the European Union if feel obliged to (well this is probably too much to say). But British like being special and isn’t that what we all want, after all? That’s the only explanation I find, as of why they could not care less if they piss off the rest of the world as long as they stay loyal to their tradition. We, the Basques, are also really devoted to our tradition but with slightly different connotation; we don’t want to be imposed by other cultures and Brits would love to continue imposing as they did in the past. I can’t estimate the hassle, effort and mistakes carried out for the brilliant idea of making the fiscal year start on the 6th of April for a nation leading in innovation and embracing change like no other. Tradition and innovation are two massive confronting forces in England, driving progress and drowning down an incredible nation at the exact same moment in time.

IMG_2812But what is the best of living in London? The unlimited offer of leisure activities and culture that you have easy access to. The amount of stolen art almost still alive (that they’ll never give back) is absurd. In London, you can get exposed to almost any form of culture you fancy: architecture, literature, sculpture, and any kind of cuisine… it is all accessible within Zones 1 to 3. All you need is an Oyster card and enough (now plastic made) fresh pounds. With liquidity, it is impossible to get bored in London.

But my best British moments are really far from intellectualism due my animal and primary way of being and they all involve one of these two variables: alcohol and football. There are only a few things better than sharing moments watered by cold pale ale. And football, which has always been an excuse to discover different realities and meet different people since I have been able to stand up.

What will my next step be? A country where there is not a defined cultural pattern and the only constant is multiculturalism. Unofficial citizenship is defined as “anyone who can make love in a canoe”. Considering my curious nature and that here there is almost the same number of canoes than people, it is very easy not to find the call irresistible.

Randall Stephens

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