London Rambling, Part 2

It’s so hard to summarize all the impressions I’ve been having here over the last two days, but I’ll try (check out Part 1, too). What I do notice more and more that I really enjoy exploring such a big city because there is so much to see and discover, but it also becomes more exhausting each day.  I wouldn’t want to live here, as much as I love the city by now. It’s simply too much of everything and the bad parts would depress me soon.

One thing that fascinates me is how much advertisements and public services accept that humans are bad and tend to behave in inappropriate ways. Like the sign that says “Reporting anything unusual won’t hurt you.” Think about the prerequisite for having a slogan like that. Will people be more willing to change their behavior if the poster expects them not to? I hear the voice of a teacher going “Come on guys, I know you don’t like it, but show some effort, will you?” It’s somewhat disconcerting. I also saw some advertising by the Transport for London organization, explaining that they don’t “make profit" because they spend all of it on improving the transport system. That fascinated me too because the explanation was small, but the “we don’t earn anything” was really big. Are people supposed to be proud of them or impressed? Is it a thing to do something but don’t spend the money you’ve earned for yourself? Isn’t it a contradiction in our culture where the whole point is that you get more?

Then again, when I got off the underground station at Oxford Circus, I was overwhelmed, almost crushed, by the stores and the people and the noises and the advertisements. It is this shopping mecca and I realized again why too many stores and shopping streets in cities quickly depress me. Seeing it on a huge scale like that was almost devastating. And I can’t help but look at all the gigantic stores, Zara, H&M, Gap etc. and all the people switching from store to store, bags full of clothes in their hands and wonder how much of this is only possible because people in Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, Turkey and so on work for the lowest possible wage and the worst working conditions, just so that we can indulge in shopping binges. I know, it sounds like my moral finger is way up, but I don’t want to judge people, it just amazes me when I think about it and how much we want to ignore the knowledge of where our products come from.

Other tidbits: specially designed stones to keep homeless people from sleeping in front of a restaurant’s window because we don’t want to accept that they are part of our fucked up culture.

Tablets at the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice at Postman’s Park calling women who tried to kill themselves “lunatic” and “poor.”

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Mural at Brick Lane of the new Krays movie starring Tom Hardy, celebrating these gangsters like rock stars.

Advertisement at a church that looks like a Subway ad, showing the pathetic (sorry) ways religion has to go to get people to attend.

Tomorrow’s the last day already, I hope I’ll get another post done then. Cheers, mates! (I actually feel bad having written that…)