A Wednesday Morning: 8:15-9:00am

  • An elderly woman in a headscarf pushing an empty baby buggy down the pavement, walking slowly, singing (or more like yodelling) loudly.  About 10 feet behind, a man of the same age shuffled along.
  • Instead of the usual Sport or ShortList handed out on the corner by the tube, today I looked twice to see that it was something different. This is a weekly magazine called Stylist given out every Wednesday morning. The first issue was published last week. It’s your typical woman’s read with fashion, beauty, diet, a smattering of events and staying in options, etc. Kept me occupied from Ealing Broadway to White City if that means anything.
  • And speaking of free tube reading, you probably have noticed the Evening Standard has been free from this Monday. 
  • As usual on the tube, there is at least one amusing person to write about. Today, it was a man in a tan suit with a similar coloured gym bag who sat across from me. He held a copy of a tube map, looking back and forth between it and the one posted in the train. He muttered to himself, “Now, if I take this route I’ll end up here.” A few seconds later, “No, no… This looks like a better option. Lets see here.” And then, “I wonder where this goes. What is this place.” This went on for a few stops until he got off the train at North Acton.  

People Watching: Number 6 Bus

Oxford Street…A black-suited business woman with florescent M&S-bag-green hair, black roots. Toxic. I’d like to stick her under a black light and see if she glows.

A man with a straggly brown beard perched on a concrete bench, beer balancing precariously between his legs, unlit cigarette dangling between parted lips. On the same bench, a couple kissing.

A woman, late 20s, pulling a hard yellow Sponge Bob Square Pants suitcase down the pavement. No kids in sight.

A middle-aged man emerging from Selfridges lumbered with three sizable gold Gucci bags. No woman in sight.

A group of feathery-haired teenage girls with fringes sitting in a row along the windows of Primark, brown paper bags at their feet, smoking; most wearing sunglasses and playing with their phones. Probably texting each other.

A woman in a purple jacket frantically ridding herself of a pile of London Lite’s, thrusting them in front of people chasing after a bus.

Shortly after… 

Edgware Road is like a different city. A man smokes a water pipe outside the Lebanese restaurant Al Arez. There are Arabic shops and Arabic signs, Mediterranean food, halal butchers. Shop names like Shahi Sizzler, Roar! Betting, Take Cover (selling curtains) and the oddly-placed American Nails Design.

In Brent, the bus is teeming with people speaking different African and Asian languages, innit-English and random European languages. Passengers are every size, shape and colour with dreds, corn rows, afros, sleek, straight, curly hair.

In Brent, nearly 47% of people were born outside the UK. Only 30% are white British. Having been born and raised in a city that is 98.5% white and was once known as a “Sundown Town”, it’s an amazingly refreshing feeling to live some place so diverse as this.