Living in London, though it has totally burst the Wordsworth bubble, has made me realize that Eliot was right. April is the cruelest month. Up until the end of March, most things are alright, everyone in his or her proper place, but come April, everyone in the world packs a bag (or ten) and decides to come to London. People who have been trotting the globe have covered everything else in other months, but left London for April. People who have not gotten up from their beds for ten months (and have chips and cookie bits and tea cups from December in the vicinity of the locus of their laziness) have arisen, dusted off the chip and cookie bits, stepped on a teacup and crushed it, sworn, and come to London.
The media is keeping track of this activity. From "Trains dump toilet waste on the tracks" (that's news?) to "No Tourist in Souvenir Shop for Fifteen Minutes: Blair Launches Enquiry", the grubby hands of journos are on the pulse of the city.
It's supposed to be the city's "spring/summer collection". One chap spots a three-square inch patch of sunlight in Central London, writes about it to his friends, and set off a reaction that might be labeled nuclear. Net result: London is full. It might be useful for researchers who want to get their research right by asking their question to "every human being alive on April 29, 2006 AD" to stand near the London Eye queue from morning 11:59am to night 3:00pm (the Eye's operating hours) and ask everyone personally. For residents like us though, all the more territorial because we are temporary squatters and refuse to acknowledge it, it is a royal pain in arse (you have not lived if you haven't had the pleasure of hearing a Brit say that aloud, but if you are alive, you're probably in London right now, and that Brit there is totally thinking this about you, even if he's not saying it out of politeness).
My question is, where are these people living? Is every other building sheltering innumerable map bearers in funny blue, red and white hats? My other question is, what are these millions of cameras clicking? "And here's from this April's trip to London: That person behind those Japanese tourist is my wife Joan. That thing behind the Indian family is the Globe theatre. Cool angle, huh? I took it before I got up from the ground when that Spanish group knocked me down!" Though nobody's answering, my other question is: why with children? We have no food for them that is healthy! And really, the wheels of that perambulator make a terrible noise on the Millennium Bridge! And the final question: Can you see anyone, absolutely anyone, who is NOT wearing a funny hat and is eating those roadside caramelled peanuts? Do you understand the significance? Are you supposed to eat them? Good.
We central Londoners (note how absence of megabucks in the bank make this statement farcical) can forget about peace and quiet and sunny picnics in the parks. Looking around, I notice there are no other Central Londoners complaining! Where are they? Off to Australia to hug the cold? Or selling caramelled peanuts in some other corner of the city?
Tomorrow's headline: "Heathrow Terminal 400 Open. World Finally Ready For More Kids."