panic on the streets of london

I wanted to write about the London riots  but I’ll still trying to organize my thoughts. This is all I have to say right now.

I feel like London is a wizened old man: the kind who sits on a park bench, smoking a withered cigarette, old tattoos fading into oblivion along the forearms, sleeves pushed up on a cardigan, and a hairline that’s receding; you can see the liver spots beneath the wispy, grey strands.

London longs to tell you stories of the good old days. London has lived through so many generations. London has seen wars, but “good old wars,” you know, the kind that meant something.

London, the old man, is a fully realized character: he’s full of contradictions, fallacies, and hidden truths. He is not sure what defines his present; at times he feels that he is nothing but his memories. But these memories are perpetually rewritten as each day another layer of myth-making takes hold: another memory is gone, another memory is made, then remade, and remade again.

London doesn’t know his own history better than any of us do. He clings to memories that he thinks mean something, but in the end, none of them do. There’s nothing but Now.

London has gone from rags to riches and back again so many times that he no longer knows what he is any more. It is all locked somewhere inside of him. He’s lived through civil war as well. It might seem like so long ago, but it’s not. Not really. Memory works in funny ways; time has no bearing on whether we remember certain things more clearly than others.

London sits, smoking his cigarette, saying something glib like “hot fecking summer, eh?”  The casual bitterness in his tone, and that brief way in which his eyes take to the sky as if to say I’m too old for this shit, betray the fact that perhaps his wars are not over after all.

As London sits on his park bench, I can’t help but think of Vancouver as an arrogant young kid. Vancouver: lacking history but full of self-importance.

Vancouver: if the world’s a condominium complex, you’re the show home, beautiful but emotionless. Your possessions lack context.

London, the bitter old man, eyes this cocky young kid with condescension. Vancouver, he says, You think you’re the first to think of this? You think you’re the first to get angry? The first to burn things, the first to loot? You think you have a reason for this?

Well, son, let me show you how it’s done.  

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