London stories

One of the things I loved about my work in psychology was talking to people. Networking, chatting, interviewing, listening, making sense of people’s lives and stories was a big part of my day-to-day job and one that I have a natural aptitude for. As a qualitative researcher I was taught to dig beneath the surface, peeling back the layers and constructing the bigger picture.

London is a great place to look for stories. The people of the city and their internal stories seem to be more deeply buried here. They wrap themselves in anonymity, staring at the floor as they walk by and avoiding eye contact afraid they may have to interact with a stranger. The way the city has become so disengaged and fragmented is sad. Instead of differences creating an interesting compliment, they jar. A culture of mistrust has grown. People continue to walk on, never looking up.

In the same way the London sky line fascinates me; the story it tells about the development of a city. There’s that juxtaposition between the old and the new, vying for attention. Different architecture crosses the decades, an example of the 1970’s standing next to the ultra modern, touching cheek with the 1800’s. It forces us to ask what is beautiful, what is ugly, what is necessary. The towering crane next to the cathedral.

Buildings rise, while others crumble and fall. Is all of this just part of the natural evolution of the city, is this the way it’s always been or are we just building for the sake of it, is this just a result of our capitalist nation and its general over consumption of resources? Do we really need all of these buildings, when others have no home?

 

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