You get a different perspective from up here.
I mean, it’s only a matter of a few metres, barely ten off the ground, and fewer still from my balcony only just below. But sightlines and viewpoints only matter to architects … and only as far as who can see into whose bedroom and whether you’ve got enough light; from up here the cosy conventions don’t apply. From up here London’s landmarks seem less distant, more part of the local scene. The winking hood of Canary Wharf. The tumescent glory of the Gherkin. Even the whooshing of the Brighton trains, close behind but suddenly exposed instead of sealed off by thick concrete.
Yes, it’s quite pleasant here, up on the rooftops.
London is more a part of me, and the artificiality of my gilded-cage Mews less constraining. And it exists just a few metres above terra firma, on the terra-less-firma of the rooftops. All you’ve got to do is raise your head a little, and the world is yours.
(With so many London buildings being connected together, it’d be possible to travel some distance without descending to ground level. I wonder if I could make it to Tower Bridge?)
I’m not worried about my ability to balance, here on the apex of the slates, but I do have concerns about the bottle that’s somehow found its way up here with me. I’m not sure the bottle is happy. I wonder if it will be friends with me?
And that’s without considering my friend the PDA, my faithful companion of the ether, recording my thoughts as I blog away, an electronic slate even as I sit on slate. It’s such a pity there’s nowhere to put anything down, even as I put everything down on this blog, over the Wifi signal emanating from my garage several floors below. (The XDA really is a great PDA.)
Regarding the film I’ve just watched: like Johnny Depp’s character, I’m a libertine. Self-destructive to a point, because the world he constructed inside his own head was more interesting than anything he discovered outside it. So he had to keep testing himself just to try and feel something.
I’m the same: one wrong step and I’m gone. There are two choices as to where I could fall from here: a mainline train track, or the ‘burban numbness of a communal flower garden. I’ve always known, somehow, that my death would be one of those embarassing ones, so there’d be no tragically heroic train wreck for me: it’d be the garden, horrifyingly anodyne, to be discovered by neighbours stepping out for the Sunday papers tomorrow morning. “That’s the guy from No. 3X isn’t it? What’s he doing, all squashed down to the thickness of a sheet of A4 like that?”
But such thoughts don’t disturb me much. I feel calm, up here on the roof, detached somehow. A model of equanimity.
Now get me that monkey!