Posted by: Paul | March 17, 2010

On Primrose Hill

Written yesterday afternoon.

I’m sitting on top of Primrose Hill and feeling inspired. Most people know that this grassy mound north of Regent’s Park offers probably the best and most complete view of the London skyline. It’s one of those shots you often see in romantic dramas, the couple in question sat on a bench on top of a hill with almost all the major London landmarks in the background. It’s such a commonly used vista that it’s become a bit of a cliché – and today is an unparalleled day to experience it.

Spring has sprung. It’s warm with a gentle breeze, and it’s wonderful to sit cross-legged on the grass and feel the sun on my face for the first real time this year. I have an unexpected free afternoon, as one of my London engagements was cancelled at the last minute and, wanting to spend some time outside, there was only one place I wanted to head to. I’m listening to Explosions In The Sky and taking in the view – this moment is all about the epic.

Far away to the east I can see the cranes of the Olympic site. Somewhere directly between here and there is a fire, a thin plume of black smoke wafts into the air. Moving west there’s nothing distinct I recognise until the island of skyscrapers, miles away in Docklands. In front of that, and far closer, is the red brick clocktower and spire atop St Pancras station. Then comes the financial enclave of the Square Mile, crowned by the Gherkin and Tower 42. More tower blocks, some residential, before St Paul’s Cathedral pokes its dome up between the black glass monoliths surrounding it. After that is the hideous concrete sentinel of Guy’s Hospital, ruining the south bank of the Thames.

I can just make out the chimney of the former power station which is now Tate Modern. Then more office buildings including the huge Centre Point, before the cylindrical spear of the BT Tower, like a stake through London’s heart. The graceful arch of the top of the London Eye follows, and then the building heights drop away. Among the low rises I can see Westminster Cathedral and the four white chimney stacks at Battersea.

There’s one major thing I can’t see from here, and that’s Parliament. I think to myself that this is a good thing. Politics impinges on so much, but not my afternoon in the sunshine. Before it turns cold and my mood changes, I zip up my coat and move on.

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Responses

  1. Come on, Paul!
    I could need Your assistance here in Berlin!


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