Four things you don’t see every day on the streets of London

But you may wish you did

Damian Clarke
Sep 21 · 3 min read

Art

…hanging in a back street near my office

Banksy’s Graffiti extends the double yellow lines from the roadway, across the footpath and up the wall to become a flower.
The original picture is lost to the mists of time and hacking so here is a Banksy painted on the wall near home. (Photo courtesy of Vicky at banksyrulez.)

Artists, no… cyclists, no… artists, definitely artists

Walking down Charring Cross Road one morning. Someone peeps out of a glass door ahead of me, then retreats, holding the door open.

I hear a clatter behind me, it gets closer.

I look around.

A girl in colorful clothes is riding down the bus lane on an old bike. She mounts the dropped kerb, crosses the footpath and glides straight through the open door into the marble foyer of St Martins School of Art.

St Martins School of Art and Design in Charring Cross Road.
St Martins School of Art, Charing Cross Road (Photo: TMagazine Blog, NY Times)

The glass door closes behind her.

I walk on.

Teenagers

Walking down Shaftesbury Avenue one morning.

Three teenage girls on the footpath ahead are giggling and red faced, doubling up in excitement and pleasure. Surely only a Robbie Williams sighting or termites down the trousers could cause such excitement.

I draw closer.

The girls are paralyzed by now. They are outside a large roller-door. Inside, A truckload of sweaty firemen have returned from a job, and are climbing down from the engine.

Six sexy firemen pose with tools and hoses out, and no shirts on.
This picture is really for my friend Tess, but you can enjoy it too — and let’s face it, this is what those girls were thinking! (Photo: Croydon Gardian.)

I walk on.

Shopping

New to London. My third trip to Ikea in a week, in a rented van: five sets of bookshelves on this trip, flying solo.

Heaving my trolley — it must have been over 250kg — of bookshelves and bits and pieces towards the man who looks after them while you get your van, I glance towards the loading area.

A formally dressed man in his late fifties is straining to heave massive boxes into the back of a large Mercedes-Benz saloon.

A woman with a platinum bob haircut and expensive handbag is shuttling between two tasks: trying to get her two small boys into the back of the large car, and trying to help the formally dressed man with the boxes.

The man with the boxes is shuttling between two tasks: heaving the boxes into the boot of the car, and holding the car door open for the woman and her small boys.

Whenever the man holds the car door open for the boys, the woman helps him by placing small bagged items into the boot of the car. Whenever the man heaves a box into the car, he must, first, remove all the small bagged items the woman has put there to make space. He pauses to hold the door between every box. She loads in small bagged items between every box.

He is about to snap.

His chauffeur’s cap hangs from the handle of the trolley.

I walk on.

Copyright © Damian Clarke, 2020. First posted to the Our Albion blog, August 7th, 2007.

Our Albion

he story of a guy with a hammer, some nails and an old…

Damian Clarke

Written by

I’m a writer and publisher working in Sydney, Australia and London, UK. I specialise in finance, technology, insurance, property, medicine and sustainability.

Our Albion

he story of a guy with a hammer, some nails and an old house to use them on.

Damian Clarke

Written by

I’m a writer and publisher working in Sydney, Australia and London, UK. I specialise in finance, technology, insurance, property, medicine and sustainability.

Our Albion

he story of a guy with a hammer, some nails and an old house to use them on.

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