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Sunday, August 02, 2009

London. There's no shortage.

Took a trip on London Transport this morning which was a reminder what a huge, multifarious city it is. Because I was on my own I was able to focus on my fellow travellers. The people on the Piccadilly Line early this morning, predominantly Afro-Caribbean or Filipino, were clearly on their way to church. The people on the Docklands Light Railway on their way to the London Triathlon at the ExCel Centre in Docklands (above, 10,000 competitors each day) were overwhelmingly white and middle-class. Mum, children and grandparents were gathering to cheer on super-fit 35-year old Dad who was trussed up like Paul Rutherford during the early days of Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Afterwards I went to Stratford to see if it looks like an Olympic venue. It does, kind of. All my fellow passengers on the train-replacing bus that took me from there to Highbury and Islington were East European apart from a couple of hangover-nursing posh girls who were "rear tyred". When we got to Highbury there were armies of red-headed Glasgow Rangers supporters pouring out of the station on their way to a friendly at the Emirates.

10 comments:

Simon said...

I was stood in a queue in my local chipshop last night and passed the time by trying to work out how many countries the people passing by were from. At a rough guess I was looking at at least 15 different countries of origin.

It's one of my favourite things about London. My little gang at school all came from different places originally, seven different countries if you looked at our parents, and even more if you looked further back..

Nick White said...

I used to teach in a primary school in West Hampstead. In one class of twenty-eight children, fourteen (yes, fourteen) nationalities were represented. All social groups were represented too; at one table sat the daughter of a BAFTA Award winner (OK, not necessarily upper class, but she was), a child from a large family of travellers, a child with a physical disability and a refugee from Afghanistan.
The school's annual Multicultural Evening, the sort of event that gets disparaged in the tabloids, was extraordinarily moving, like a more emotional version of WOMAD.

Michael Taylor said...

Were the Rangers fans pissing everywhere? They did when they came to Manchester last year.

London's layers are something to behold. Is there still a South American Football League on Clapham Common?

David Hepworth said...

Yesterday I saw a game of Aussie Rules being played in a park in Muswell Hill.

Douglas said...

Michael,
OK, I'll rise to your bait about Rangers fans. As one of the (as it happens, red headed) aforementioned who was in Manchester I feel I have to respond. Fair enough - a minority of 'fans' (or people using the club) caused trouble which will take the club years to live down, but on the littering and urinating accusations - fans of other clubs (ok then, Celtic) in the same huge, intoxicated numbers (150k - 200k depending on estimates) would no doubt have tidied up nicely after them before wending their jolly way home. Aye right...

Music Student said...

I saw quite a few Rangers fans on the Victoria line from King's Cross to Highbury & Islington yesterday lunchtime. From what I can recall none of them had red hair.

David Hepworth said...

The fact that the ones I saw did is yet another facet of the very multifariousness on which I was remarking.

Michael Taylor said...

Douglas, I said at the time there were probably only two clubs in Europe who would have trashed our city in the same way - both from the same city. All part of living it down, I suppose...

Neil Tasker said...

Douglas, I'm Scots and I'm continually embarrassed by both sides of the Old Firm. And that goes for clubs AND so called fans. The sooner you both piss off to England for good the better..... not that they'd have you.

Douglas said...

The other Scottish clubs have gleefully milked the Old Firm for years (for example, if it was down to the Old Firm we wouldn't have the staleness of clubs playing each other four times a season) so smaller clubs taking the moral high ground doesn't wash I'm afraid. Also, fans of other clubs (Aberdeen, to use a particularly nasty example) can be less than angelic so this fantasy about the supposed niceness of a Glasgow free zone is misplaced, I feel.

On your point about a potential move to England, any league in which you can hear simulated gas chamber sounds and ditties about stringing Sol Campbell up from a tree has no right to imply the Old Firm would lower the tone. You're probably right when you say 'they' wouldn't have 'us', but that is entirely down to the turkeys, Christmas scenario.