The big smoke (London)
The big Apple (New York)
The city of love (Paris)
The rainy city (Manchester)
Sin city (Vegas)
The fair city (Dublin)
The forbidden city (Beijing)
The big idea of what a metropolis is?
The presumptive ideal of moving to a big city is to achieve the realisation of a dream. A dream birthed from hearing about ‘that relative’ that did good in London. My auntie was a successful dancer in London who left for ballet school from living above a pub in central Manchester. She went on to be in all the hit musicals and work in dance for over a decade. Caroline made it and certainly inspired my move.
It can be a dream for acceptance of your sexuality or womanhood. It’s can be a dream of release from a relationship that has been choke holding you and the city is a way of escape. The dream to audition, shoot, model, act, study, to be more, change the world ect on on on.
I’m writing this sat on a promenade looking out over New York, watching the city wake up (I know it doesn’t sleep but at sunrise the buildings certainly look sleepy). Looking at the windows in each of the huge skyscrapers makes me want to zoom in to each life that resides in them. To see the day to day, the life’s, the ethics, the breakfasts they eat and why they choose to be where they are? how they did get there? And are they happy?
I have recently chosen to remove myself from the metropolis of London in a day to day capacity and use what I have learned in the city remotely as much as possible. My work will mainly be in the big cities but I realised that living there was not necessary at this point in my life. The city has been like never getting over a tempestuous love affair. A place that you’ve got used to and meeting up with them feels safe only for it to break down all over again. Rinse, cycle repeat again and again and again. A self destructive, yet exciting, sexy situation. Some people go round and round like this for years and that’s fine but ultimately there’s no ring on the finger in the end. This romance with the city cycle left me feeling a feeling I’ve felt before, feeling at your most alone when in love. Being in love with something does not mean you are happy with it, much like a big city.
To move from your town to big city always comes from within which does truthfully mean it comes from your own needs which makes it selfish (which it is important to be sometimes). I can only us metaphor to try and describe what I’m saying. It’s like the biology class experiment, the one where you put the microbe in the green petrie dish. The microbe is the rightfully selfish idea/dream and the green jelly in the city. It provides all the nutrients for the selfishness to grow and become something dangerous. This doesn’t always happen, if the temperature ect is incorrect the selfish stays in check. Same with a city, of you develop strong a support network, have time to yourself, don’t have to kill yourself working long hours to still struggle, if you have money at you disposal and caring people who truly know you the microbe is kept in check. If you don’t, it can grow and you can truly be changed in to a sad hungry monster.
Nothing shines more truth on this than dating in a big city. Trying to find someone to love become transitionary.
what do you have that will benefit me?
Does your career match up with mine?
Are you hot enough for me?
Am I hot enough for you?
Is your neighbourhood thee neighbourhood?
Can you contacts push me forward?
Will you look good in my posts?
Will my friends be impressed?
(I’ve made another blog post that looks it to this more called ‘Romarogance’.)
The “big” city is a bricks and cement version of Instagram. It’s never about inner truth it’s a projection of what you want others to see as your truth. Only difference being, you walk around this instagram, you have to face the history, the career failures head on everyday. Life shouldn’t feel like holding a chocolate trophy in the sun. It should feel like open arms that have no room to hold trophies won in futile fields. Maybe that’s why I’ve decided to leave? maybe I’m wrong and people other than me can get all of what they need this way? For me I will take from London as and when the cash needs to be banked!
When I decided to move to London I really believed I would be free to be passionate about my creative, political and opinions. I thought it would be a place of discussion and a celebration of the bad kids who are not going to be placid in the world. In reality I’ve never felt so suppressed. Initially I did feel that way but as I grew in age and lost an inner arrogance that seemed to get me more than truth did it all changed. Moving industries and getting on a proper work train the cities obsession with mediocrity became palpable. Keeping neutral is what furthers you in London. There are times when neutrality is the absolute correct behaviour but there are many times where it is not! When something or someone is wrong or has been wronged or you witness misogyny, racism, xenophobia or homophobia you bloody stand up and stomp you foot and say NO! I’m sad to say I haven’t seen this as often as I would like in London. People are climbing ladders and hungry so they do not risk unbalancing themselves. If that person is acting wrongly but can get them something or somewhere all their bad behaviour is ignored or even celebrated. The interesting thing is the “on the other hand” cliche. Ahem... if that person is “beneath you” (the poor, homeless, a lesser position at work, not in a creative industry 😂) these folk are happy to get on the earth warrior, Corbyn band wagon but only when it suits. Interchangeable opinions that serve ones self. Popular to be liberal because it looks good but too many “turn the other cheeks” and too little “eye for an eye” is what my eye sees in these cities. Power and who has it dictates what people believe or choose to say.
A good friend of mine uses the saying “stay in lane” often and it is so true. Stay in the lane of you, don’t swerve about or go backwards down the M1.
Gentrification is a part of our conservative/republican world now. Money and who has it is a glacier moving the poor out of where they no longer are en vogue. Some cities are further on down this process and they have become wealthy Utopias of calm waters for the middle ground. The old theatres of anarchy that create change are mere embers underneath white washed floorboards of a fleeting coffee shop. Slight side note but this change became very visible to through fashion. Fur is now ok, that has happened along side the gentrification in the big cities. This is the truth in how wrong things have gone. It’s a complete lack of value for substance of morals and true compassion for facade. I remember when we had a progressive government and there was less fur and more red paint.
Let’s hold that red paint up for everything that has become metaphoric fur and make sure it is not lost in these strange times.
“If you think you’ll find intellectual stimulation, you’re thinking of another era. The conversations are invariably about money or property or schools. I’ve never been more bored by casual chat.”