And then finally London...

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"And then finally London, after these unspeakably ugly, grey and rusted suburbs, tantalised by the occasional gracious glance of green, followed by the explosion of words in full and varied illumination from the rooftops and shops in all colours, yellow and green and red and blue, sparkling cries of light amidst the sinking sun, names, goods and words intended to animate purchase, on every level they jump out at you in the streets: buy! buy! buy! A horribly monotonous imperative. But wonderfully constant the endless stream of motorcars between the traffic lights. This is where the world shows its other face, the sensible one, the technical one; here in the practical world, our European present, which is failing so totally in the spiritual, shows its wastefulness in its arts and crafts. One senses the enormity of this city once again, stretching out over five continents like a polyp with a thousand tentacles, to suck its power, its riches, its energy into itself, which transforms the invisible work of invisible millions into light and luxury and wealth and movement thanks to the dangerous miracle of our world, the organisation. [... ] Down to Piccadilly Circus then, this round plaza, the actual North Pole or South Pole of our world, around which the planet rotates. It is difficult to remain standing still there, so strong does the movement vibrate; one is pushed and shoved by the swarm, one is blinded by the pushing of the motor cars, one is defeated by the roaring; and yet, one remains specifically to savour this dynamic force".

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Zweig, Stefan. Diaries. Quoted in Görner, Rüdiger (2007). London Fragments. A Literary Expedition. London: The Armchair Traveller at the bookHaus. ISBN: 9781906598730. Page 3.


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