Tuesday, April 22, 2008

London Lite etc


The free paper plague is infesting all areas of London life. From dawn to dusk... Arriving at the station in the morning, the Metro already piled up, waiting. Leaving the train, slipping into your somnambulent self, commuter character armour freezing into place, automatically making the Waste Land walk across London Bridge ('I had not thought that death had undone so many'), the way already blocked by reps proferring City AM. (London Bridge is a film set now (hyperreal city): there's barely a day where there isn't a camera crew or some out of work actors playing a bit part in some promotional pantomime.) And in the evening, rushing to escape the black hole of the city, you have to play live-action Pac Man with the London Lite and the londonpaper drones blocking the pavement every few yards. As if London needed people - poorly paid members of the city's immigrant subproletariat, at that - actually being employed to obstruct the pavement. In the train, the free papers are everywhere, their dull gloss a lurid temptation for the drained mind ... cut and pasted PR ... nothing happening forever ... cocaine celebrities ... a survey says... join in the debate... vote: more or bore... your texts... consume it and feel lulled and sullied... Semiotic parasites designed to prey upon hypnagogic drift. Weapons against the city's intelligence. Almost no-one reads books any more. London litened, littered, public transport desolated into a time waste land. Look around the carriage, snapshot of a MySpaced city: diversity without difference, homogeneity without communality - bodies reduced to claustrophobic zombie meat fighting for space, background hum of mutual hostility simmering, yet everyone is reading the same thing...
Couldn't agree more. I angrily shake my head and reject the proffered paper - then get attack of self-loathing that I've been so rude. And this happens at least twice a day.

1 comment:

shana_hills said...

Yes! It's all too true... Every morning and every evening I come prepared with my novel, podcasts and if that gets boring, good ole music. However, I feel like I'm missing out on some important cultural phenomenon - if everyone is reading it, it must be good...?

So my resolve breaks and I pick up one of the hundreds of spare copies. Only to find the same vast emptiness that was there the day before. And folks that would never be caught dead with a Daily Mail, for instance, are happy to pick up the free paper by the same evil corp? Why oh why is this plague spreading?