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The London Glare

It was too early for birdsong in Theatreland. The anthroposcene was in full swing. The crowds were out to have fun, making themselves heard above all other life forms.

I trailed a man who kept cutting in front of me, wondering when he might realize that this wasn’t his private garden. I coughed to get his attention, and he glared at me like he wanted me to go drown myself.

On the street corner by a German restaurant, I overheard a person tell his partner that the Käsekreiner was sick.

Further down, the velvety scent of Portuguese cream tarts glazed my nostrils, punctuated with a whiff of strong coffee.

I veered into the side streets and found myself in Chinatown.

Pedestrians everywhere. Lanterns and paper ornaments hung from wires and lampposts. The air was rich with the scent of spices and crispy-duck dishes. The zing of fresh lime and pomelo. A simmer of vowels.

Back into the traffic, across a street lined with commercial properties under renovation, I came on to a series of pubs. A few people stood outside, drinking and chatting. Empty pint glasses glinted on the pavement. A trickle of liquid ran from the wall to the tarmac.

A couple of streets later, the glare of flashing screens. Noise and ballyhoo…


published in Panorama: Space