Hammersmith will be missed.
Shiny revolving doors ejecting me out onto the Broadway. Crowds of people crossing the road. Scary-looking short, plump man with big neck, but an even bigger heart, selling the Evening Standard. Chap with long beard, woolly hat and parker jacket who shuffles around the Coca-Cola building all day looking for freshly discarded cigarette ends. Witty blokes behind the counter at Frank’s Italian Deli. Audacious white kitten which occasionally likes to join us for cheap Thai lunch at the Laurie Arms Irish pub on Shepherds Bush Road. Landlady at same pub who knows that we like our Diet Coke from the bottle - not from the tap. Bar 38 - the place where many joys and grievances were heard and shared over a beer or two in the evenings. A universe of sandwiches to choose from at lunchtimes; Pret, Marks, Subway, Tesco, including shady-looking holes in walls that serve up all-day breakfast baps to bus and cab drivers. Shopping centre security personnel dressed like secret service agents - walking around in twos, with radios on belts and bluetooth headsets. Cars, vans and buses speeding unnecessarily around the broadway. Being constantly asked by A-Z-clutching lost-persons for directions to the Lyric, Apollo, Magistrates Court, Disney or Job Centre. Big metal on final approach to Heathrow - following the track of the flyover carrying roadbound visitors in the opposite direction into Central London past strange-looking office building opposite the Novotel. A cute bridge over a sleepy river. The grim-looking multi-story car park behind the King’s Mall shopping centre with a spooky footbridge crossing high above the Piccadilly and District Lines - trains rattling loudly below. The cafe-style square outside Smollensky’s in the summer.
All these things will be missed.
And that’s just memories afforded to things within walking distance of the place where I have spent most of my waking life in the last three years.
A little further afield are other things that will be missed just as much: The famous Lucozade sign that greets foriegn visitors to London with proud remedy for lost energy. The lure of everything “Kings Road” in Chelsea - especially Made in Italy. The £50 a night function room with exotic, high-art style nude paintings at the Grove restuarant on Hammersmith Grove. The Queens Head pub on Brook Green - venue for many a leaving drinks celebration. Shepherds Bush Market. Ladbroke Grove. Graffiti by Fume - the crown king of the Hammersmith & City line. Too many things to sensibly list here.
Every walk that I take down to the tube station at the end of the day is now deliberately taken the long way around. Every walk to the sandwich shops at lunhctimes - now taken with a lesser sense of purpose. Every walk now a melancholy one. And every gaze across the road whilst waiting at the crossing - now in desperate search of an expression or emotion on the faces of those waiting on the other side.
The late afternoon crescents of the moon in the darkening blue sky speak of a different sort of significance.
For soon this will all be gone.
Or rather - it will all still be here;
I’ll just not be a part of its fabric any more.
And part of the journey home will never be the same again.
Hammersmith will be missed.Posted by jag at December 03, 2003 07:36 AM