“… when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” Our senior consultant Andrew Weltch argues it’s probably as true today as it was when Samuel Johnson made the famous statement over 200 years ago.
For most people living in London or travelling in to work, it must seem mundane in the extreme, but for those of us who live further afield, a trip to London – even for business – can be quite special.
I recently spent a day in the capital for a couple of meetings with prospective clients – one including lunch in spectacular historic surroundings, the other with a dynamic organisation approaching a period of exciting change.
The sun was shining, and I’d built in enough time to walk between meetings – taking in the sights, rather than using the Tube.
Booking a later (less expensive) train back to Cardiff also meant I had a couple of spare hours after the meetings. I spent them exploring the South Bank – taking in an exhibition of the history of the Royal Festival Hall, and browsing the bookshop at the National Theatre, before I came across the media launch of the BBC’s new series His Dark Materials.
When I worked there many years ago, I admit I was less excited about the place. But now, seeing it as the huge international, multicultural powerhouse which drives the UK economy, and with all its history, culture, and its abundance of fascinating sites and people, I’m much more impressed.
Johnson was arguing with Boswell that living in London – rather than visiting it occasionally – would not diminish his affection for the place.
I’m not sure I agree, but certainly the sheer amount of interesting stuff never ceases to amaze me. As Johnson put it: “… you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must survey the innumerable little lanes and courts. It is not in the showy evolutions of buildings, but in the multiplicity of human habitations which are crowded together, that the wonderful immensity of London consists.”
Footnote: I accept that if it had been cold and raining, the meetings had gone badly, transport was delayed, or other things had gone wrong, the tone of this post (and my attitude to London) might have been quite different!
Weltch Media is based in Cardiff, but offers expert communications services to clients in London and beyond.