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Spoilt (rotten) For Choice

October 15, 2009

Sometimes London swells to something too big for the average human brain to cope with. When I say average, I really mean “above averagely desirous of being in the middle of things.” At any given time, this city can turn weekends into  jigsaw puzzles with infinite pieces like “new gastropub”; “show at the National Gallery”; “walk on the Heath” and “matinee at the Hampstead theatre.” It can be exhausting figuring out how to piece together plans to enjoy the city’s creme de la creme without leaving yourself more frazzled on a Sunday night than you were on Friday.

But London in October is madness. It’s criminal. The world converges here. London Fashion Week..quick breath…then Frieze Art Fair, the most exciting, starry art show in the world, with the most delicious, enthralling contemporary art from everywhere from Mexico to Tel Aviv to New York AND the London Film Festival *at the same time* but running until the end of October. Help! Now, if it weren’t for the working day, I could be at Frieze tomorrow, the London Film Festival next Monday, sitting in a cinema at the South Bank at 3pm taking in some cutting edge Romanian cinema. Then there’s Enron at the Naional (sold out) and everything opening at the Donmar and the Duchess and the Royal Opera House. And this month, I seem unable to do all of this – I have other plans; friends; even scheduled downtime. All this stuff I want to do yet didn’t pin down, didn’t nail in my calendar, and now I am watching it go by.

Why do I care? Well, I feel that if you’re going to the effort of living in London, if London demands such a price for living in it  – the Tube fares, the, err, malfunctioning Tube, the mean whimsies of bus drivers, the clogged roads, the huge spaces dividing you and your friends – then you better get your money’s worth. And in London that is not to accept a humdrum routine of work-home-bed every day. It is to enjoy the fact that we live in the world’s greatest tourist destination – greater even than the Maldives and LA and Miami because it’s got more going on upstairs – and can play in it every day. Or maybe I’m putting too much pressure on myself- and London. Yoga, anyone? A spot of East Enders?

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