Movement and pace in London

From dusk to dawn a river of cars and lorries, eight abreast, pound the road, circling north and east. In back gardens three or four stone’s throw away one can hear a continuous swishing noise, like the rustle of the sea receding against a pebbly shore, caused by rubber burning on tarmac.

Meanwhile, a different kind of noise, a whooshing, announces the synchronized opening of underground train doors. Doors shut, the train furrows deep into the ground taking commuters in their hundreds, spewing them out and sucking them in, at intervals along a line, like a fly enjoying a whistle stop foody tour of an extra long dogshit.

London’s red buses, like commuters on a winter’s day, wheeze, splutter and cough. They bustle their way across the city’s haphazard network of roads and pot holes, navigating roadworks on the way.

In and amongst the mess, hari-kiri cyclists risk life and limb to squeeze through the smallest of gaps between lorries and cars, blithely driving through red lights and cutting off pedestrians at zebra crossings, to save themselves seconds of time.

Hoardes of pedestrians, when not looking indignantly at psychopathic cyclists, wait patiently for the traffic to stop so they can scurry across the road to wherever they need to be.


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