One of the best things about living in a capital city is your constant proximity to THE NEWS. Yes, sorry all you buggers in the provinces think the news is too London-centric, that’s because a lot of the news happens in London. And often you brush up against it without realising. Now I know that saying Clare Short stole my taxi is
a) Not really news
b) Not really true
but that does not stop the frisson of significance it suggests. Primarily because if Clare Short had stole my taxi it would possibly to do be involved in some important governmental thing (this was back in the day when Clare Short, if she had been in a position to steal my taxi, was also in a position of influence in the Cabinet).
Anyway I digress. Here are some potential news stories I have been tangentially involved in, or nearby to.
a) The Anti-War March 2003. Admittedly there were well over a million of us on that one, so I am not claiming too much primacy over this news item being “mine”
b) The bombing of the Admiral Duncan and the Brixton Iceland. I was near neither at the time. But I have at separate times used both places for drinking and buying beer. You kind of point at the television and go – I know that. They you find out the Admiral Duncan was a predominantly gay bar, and keep that bit to yourself (a friend worked next door, its not exactly militant in there.)
c) An IRA bomb in 1995. I am a bit shaky on this one, as it never made the news, because there wasn’t a bomb. 1995 makes sense, but it might be the real IRA or I Can’t Believe Its Not The Provo’s or some-such group. Anyway I was having my haircut near the TUC when a policewoman came in to evacuate us. I was halfway through a haircut so had an even more unruly than usual barnet. I tried to see as many people as possible that evening as the state of my hair proved the story was true, which I suppose is preferable to there actually being a bomb.
d) The Kings Cross Fire Disaster 1987. This is the one that even I am not sure I believe any more. This much I know is true it was on a Wednesday and Wednesday was Games day at School which was the entire Wednesday afternoon of getting my head pummeled into the dirt. I was going home for lunches and quite often I would not return in the afternoon. The pay-off for the teacher not reporting me was him not having to teach someone so inept at catching. Often I would come up to town and mooch about Soho record stores. And I remember coming home, sitting infront of the television aghast at the Kings Cross fire because I had just been through there. Many tellings of this story have included me smelling tell-tale burning smells, but I recognise that this is just exaggeration. Even without the date, I knew Kings Cross tube really well and this was a massive shock.
And even if you weren’t there, you know it. Even when you close the door at night you can’t escape London. Some people hate this. I love it.