Native sightings can be rare in this most affluent and international of cities. The English, more often than not, have retreated to the safety of the suburban sidelines and left the town to be gobbled by a massive tourist machine based on cheap flights and a cheap pound.

The city grows faster and more furiously than at any time in its history. A casual observer could easily count twenty monster cranes politely swinging in the clouds like dinosaurs demolishing all in their path.

Walking through the West End I was accosted by a digital plague — a blizzard of smart phones, headphones and hand devices buried in screens and apps with google maps directing their handlers — anglophiles from all corners of the globe with ready cash to spend, seeking bargains in what has become an overstocked corporate hell of mediocrity.

Most of the charmingly dangerous sleaze of soho has been relieved by a malignant mass of corporate blandness. The old second-hand book shops on Charing Cross road are gone, replaced by the low-end dregs of city flotsam like used mobile phone shops and cheap union jacks. Continue reading “London”