Before setting sail (aboard Air Canada) to the United States in 2008, I had spent the better part of a year plying my trade in the heart of London. It was a city I could easily have settled into on a permanent basis had it not been for recession-era work complications. Getting laid off at the height of the economic downturn was the tipping point—not least because it ensured that my wife and I would not be able to pay for her visa application.
Using what was an admittedly sizable redundancy package, we immediately bought two airline tickets to the United States. These, you understand, were one-way.
I have every faith that I will one day visit London again. However, to help combat any sense of longing I hold for that particular city, I turned recently to the one thing that continually keeps my sanity in check (besides coffee): music.
While composing London—embedded in this article above—I indulged in a particularly intense bout of reminiscence, in which the finer aspects of London life came at me faster than a pirate-DVD vendor in Whitechapel. Throughout these, shall we say, "visions", I saw ducks making babies in St. James' park, naked environmentalists negotiating Waterloo Bridge, Beefeaters intimidating visitors at the Tower of London, and Horatio Nelson standing proud atop his very large column in Trafalgar Square.
I also saw regular people—both residents and tourists—galloping across the city for the eight o'clock showing of Les Miserables. People are what make a city. They give it a heartbeat, which—in London—pounds rapidly between the hours of 8am and 11pm (the city's heart thereafter beats to the sound of kebab house chit-chat).
I saw the Thames, flanked either side by world famous landmark after world famous landmark. The shimmering image of Tower Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral, and City Hall all reflecting off the river were of particular note.
For me, though, it is reflections of a different kind—those that occur internally—that further enhance my appreciation for London. For those of you who share this appreciation, I hope that this music will bring you that little bit closer to the city you love so much. Thanks for listening.