- Seneca, "On the Shortness of Life"
Late afternoon, gorgeous and autumny out, so I dart out of the office to go stand in Trafalgar Square in the rusty last sunlight. I find the spot I got photographed in on my first time ever in London. I find I've changed a lot more than the spot has.
This being prime trophy photo territory, I'm nearly instantly recruited into driving a nice SLR for a couple of Italian businessmen; then a credit-card-sized digital for a couple of Japanese women. They exclaim in awe when I count down the shot in Japanese. When I explain (in Japanese) that I studied it in college, they clap their hands in amazed delight precisely as if I were a particularly cute and surprisingly well-trained organ grinder monkey.
In front of Nelson's column, they are taking down a large cinema screen, which for the past few days has been showing trailers for films in the London Film Festival, which starts up tomorrow. At last year's festival, on my birthday, I ducked out of work to queue for a return ticket to Lost in Translation; my birthday present to myself. More recently, about a month ago, in this same square, I saw an outdoor showing of Battleship Potemkin - with a new score performed live by the Pet Shop Boys. How's that for an only-in-London experience.
On the stroll back up the Strand to the Adelphi (my building, formerly a five-star art deco hotel), a double-decker red bus goes by with an advertisment for an opera promotion: "See a tenor for a tenner." I laugh out loud. "London . . ."