You know what? I’m no longer a Londoner. No longer must I trek to work past cheeky street urchins, charming cockneys, screeching teenagers, drug runners, prophets of doom, doe-eyed starlets, braying Sloanes, baffled tourists, drunks of every stripe, malignant lawyers, and the Queen. Or any of the other things years of reading have led me to believe fill this city.
Not because Manchester won’t have any of these things, you understand (except the Queen, presumably): it’s just that I won’t be trekking to work any more. It is time, for a short and thrilling year, to invert my proportions of leisure and survival: now I’ll publish in the dark, nameless hours, and spend most of the day writing and writing and writing.
Now is the time for the expensive replacing all the duff things I’ve bashed holes in and not bothered replacing over the past four years: keyboard, trainers, socks, bedside lamp, alarm clock, soul. I have assembled this list as a result of Saturday afternoon, when I wrapped my troubles in dreams and my books in cardboard boxes, preparing for my deLondonification. Now, lurking in Bath for a week with my parents before hitting the motorways and heading north, I have assessed my possessions and have determined that my life, according to the tenets of advanced consumer capitalism, consists of:
- Books: many. And much as I like small presses, why must their paperbacks be a different height to the rest?
- Socks: simultaneously too many and not enough.
- Things that need ironing: apparently infinite.
- Cuboid objects: the box I am proud of.
- Non-cuboid objects: the box I despise. Does this make me alarmingly OCD?
- Cuddly toy, x2. The womble might have to retire to the attic, now I'll be half a country away from an SW postcode.
- Stationery: couldn’t possibly say where all this came from. And no, I wouldn’t believe those rumours about me and the stationery cupboard on my last day at work. People say all sorts.
- Equipment for sports I don’t play any more. My equivalent of ‘dancing shoes, never worn’.
My brain’s bouncing all over the place like a puppy on a coffee drip. Next stop, Manchester. Actually, no: next stop, buying lots of cutlery. Last stop, Manchester. No, that sounds too final. Oh, sod it, you know what I mean. I'll have to stop using third-hand train metaphors, now that I'm going to a city without an underground.