Thursday, 19 January 2006


The Thames was high, strangely pale - reflecting back a cloudy night sky - and running vigorously, flanked on either side by lit up buildings. Lit up from below they reminded me of the grotesques of Toulouse Lautrec or the ballet dancing beauties of Degas paintings, lit unsympathetically from below with strangely green light. The London Eye, going round at a much greater speed than it feels while you ride it, was lit with red and yellow bulbs. One pod encased with a hording depicting a performing band - it took several glances to see that it wasn't real. Young people spilled off the last ride of the evening from some project called London Schools celebrating success and that superhead was there.

It felt like Paris in winter wandering along the paving stones flanked by bare trees swathed in twinkly lights with a chill wind blowing. Couples meandering. Joggers and cyclists. A train trundled overhead. And a thought popped up. But this is London. The sky is sort of organe. The trees are decked in blue lights. For a moment I basked in the love affair I have with my city.

Later we wandered through the After the Wave: the tusami remembered photographs. Devastating but beautiful, strangely. Rubble, but sort of directional. Recognisable bits. Large concrete pieces the painted insides lying upwards strewn across the beach front. Wood planks scattered like matchsticks. A boat on top, a digger buried underneath, 4 kilometres inland. A huge expanse of beach, a few palm trees in the distance, a patchwork of concrete floors stretching out across it. Horrifying. But also some hopeful signs of rebuilding.

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