24 November 2014

People watching: the great London game of life.

I love people watching. Just while waiting for the train, drinking coffee, staring out the window (only very occasionally) or eating lunch in a park square; and London is the best place in the world to do it (except maybe the Wellington water front, now there are some entertaining characters).

People watching: the great London game of life - Adventures of a London Kiwi 
I realise the great irony in this, as a blogger whose photos are generally always empty of the general public - they are there I swear, often in droves - but don't nessecarily add to the story of many images. Or do they?

People watching: the great London game of life - Adventures of a London Kiwi

As London life is lived, I see harried housemothers, monks, businessmen in loudly pinstriped suits, look-at-me girls with legs up to their armpits and not very much clothing, mischievous kids, loved up couples hands interlinked like nothing will ever change, blokes dressed head-to-toe in fluoro pink, rampages (the collective noun I've made up) of power rangers, tourists with expensive cameras dangling from their hands, whilst their fanny-packs are padlocked out of sight. I've seen a tribe of smurfs, nuns, snakes (a boa constrictor), and don't even mention the Waitangi Day Circle Line tube crawl.

People watching: the great London game of life - Adventures of a London Kiwi

As a longtime London resident I have learned not to make eye contact; several years ago a bloke tried to sell me a kitten from his cardboard box full of kittens. Oh, how I wanted one, but I was working in an office where they had a rather elderly, rather blind collie and as I was worried she might think the kitten was a chew toy...

People watching: the great London game of life - Adventures of a London Kiwi

A secret quilty pleasure of mine are the handbag dogs. Immaculately dressed women, walking innocuously around with their incredibly oversize bags, then 'pop', out comes a cute little head at their elbow. (As an aside, I wonder if biscuit would be my handbag cat? I did see a camping cat a few months ago...) I do sometimes wonder what the pups think of their situation, but they don't ever look unhappy - is this the head-out-of-the-car-window moment for modern dogs?

People watching: the great London game of life - Adventures of a London Kiwi

Christmas brings out a whole new level to this microcosm of human behaviour; busy, harried shoppers at the end of their day barging in and out of shops, discussing presents for every member of their extended menagerie, tales of office Christmas parties, drunken exchanges, the calculated avoidance of busy train doors, an exultant snatching of a last minute bargain.

I've also seen incredible small moments of kindness: retrieving a dropped teddy bear, buying a drink for the stressed person in the line behind, giving hot food to the needy, a bowl of water outside pubs for canine companions.

People watching: the great London game of life - Adventures of a London Kiwi

And there are always ten bonus points if you manage to spot people sleeping on the train...

16 comments :

  1. Lovely post, you are right - the people that make the city, but we never write about them!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This made me think of the Beatles song Eleanor Rigby for some reason...

    Got to love people watching in London...the buses are best places to see weirdos :)
    Lots of love,
    Angie
    SilverSpoon London

    ReplyDelete
  3. Once I fell asleep on the northern line and didn't wake up until Totteridge and Whetstone or some other godforsaken place..... x

    ReplyDelete
  4. If someone tried to sell me a box of kittens I would be the happiest person in the world. I will now actively seek out all box bearing Londoners on the off chance my wishes can be granted.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I wish you all the cat-gifting juju in the world! I was this 👌 close to saying yes!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lawks! You have to be careful - weirdly I've made all my bad train choices sober, and the night before big events argh!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's a beautiful, eloquent song! I met a bloke who played on the recording of that song - life goal achieved!

    Oooooh, the busses! How could I leave them out?

    ReplyDelete
  8. It would feel rather strange to I think somehow?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Perhaps, but I guess it would depend on how it is done - anonymously and without pictures, but anecdotal stories of little uplifting or thought provoking deeds?

    ReplyDelete
  10. OH MY GOD where can I find those cronuts?! I am a fellow Londoner, people watching is my favourite thing ever too! Coffee. Cafe. A long morning brunch -There is SO much drama going on everywhere ;) I'm a geog undergrad right now, one of our topics is 'ethnography' which basically involves heading out to a big train station like KC/Euston, and literally *people watching* as fieldwork. It's acc so fun! The amount of stuff you manage to pick up on is crazy...all of these moments/funny thing that go unmissed by people who aren't as nosey as you and I...:) I can't stop giggling about the guy who tried to sell you kittens. Looking forward to following you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love people watching! I've kinda gotten it from my Mom as she loves just parking her car in fron to Walmart and watch everyone who comes and goes.
    And London is just such a great place to do this. During the summer, I love sitting in the dark, soaking up he sun and watch other people. I could do this for hours at a time!
    Love,
    Svenja

    ReplyDelete
  12. This stand was in Camden Markets, where all of the delicious foodstalls are!
    Seriously, that sounds utterly fascinating!

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is genuinely a fascinating past time - and when it gets really quiet we start to make up stories...

    ReplyDelete

So, what do you think? Comments are blogging mana; short, sweet, long, loquacious, deep and meaningful...