Thursday, October 30, 2008

London love

Last Friday, I was at the Trafalgar Square for the free screening of "London Loves" at the London Film Festival. It was a blissful atmosphere, people sitting on the stairs across the Nelson's Column, watching short films about London from the archives of the British Film Institute (BFI), whilst setting evening reflected through the hands of the Big Ben. Films from as early as 1910's, and themes as the last run of the South Bank tram of London (1950's) added to the special atmosphere I shared with my company.

Today, I had a miserable start to the day. I could not get any work done yesterday and today my hopes were shattered as I realised I lost the power adaptor for my laptop. I went to the school to look for it but it was gone. After dealing with few necessities, I researched for the cheapest option to buy a new one. On eBay I came across a guy who sold them from his shop in London, so I gave him a ring and decided to cycle to his place to buy it from him. And as I bargained I even got a £2 discount.

I had left my bicycle in the school for the last 23 days and thought it would be a good idea to test it anyway. I did not mind the fact that the weather was 6 degrees Celsius at the moment. I got used to cycling in the cold when my spit used to freeze back in Denmark. Once again, marvels of London treated me with a nice cycling experience.

I fell in Love with London once again as I passed over Blackfriars Bridge and looked on both sides of the Thames.

Image by

The biting cold of the air did not hurt me at all. I fetched my power adaptor and decided to cycle all the way back home although I knew it would take quite long and I was hungry.

I feared London when I went through a totally dark and cold street, enclaved by two gigantic grey housing estates somewhere in Walworth.

Image by

My blood froze as I gazed at "X (couldn't see what it was) Christianity Church, European Headquarters", a factory like building at the other end of the previous street. A comical depiction of commitment.

Main road junctions around south London smelt of burning coal. People ask me if I miss Istanbul. I miss the mild winters of my country, the warming smell of winter labour, burning coal and turd following the wind miles away. The harsh loneliness of candle-lit houses, and a bowl of hot soup.

Image by

Mahatma Gandhi Industrial Estate by the rail tracks by Herne Hill amused me.

Muhammad No. 1 mosque, squeezed into a white building under the flyover rail tracks with a red-and-white inverted crescent and star flag made me think. Think of prayer. Denial. Betrayal. Freezing weather and warmth of sucking on hot blood...

The world was revolving like the usual in fact. My moments of inspirations fed my veins through constant change in typologies of street layouts, from light to dark and car traffic into dead end streets. At a traffic light at Herne Hill I happened to block a car for 5 seconds before I realised my position. I moved away and the lady driver had a cynical look at me. I was freezing and almost fainting of hunger by that point. The only swear I could come up with at that moment to throw at her came between my teeth rather in a whispering tone, first in Turkish and then in English: "pussywater" I called her.

Image by Madhu Pillai at

Somewhere in the distance, the red lights of the tower at Crystal Palace kept shining. I barely made it home without a complete body burnout.

This was my series of "London Loves", quite detached from the Trafalgar Square experience the Friday before, but yet with full of similar passion.

No comments: