I’m currently in London working at our HQ. I came down yesterday to attend the leaving do for my immediate boss.
When I arrived at the train station I noticed that the whole area was full of people going about their business, suitcases and laptops were all over the place with people talking on mobiles at every corner. No sign of the down side of our capital. At our HQ I swiped in and went to find a spare desk to work from. The office was full of highly paid executives and support staff with a couple of cleaners, post people and secretaries. I would guess about 5% of them were on less than the average wage. The place was buzzing with activity.
So, at COP, we retired to the pub around the corner. Nice old style pub which had been modernised to serve food after the anti smoking legislation. We were there at 1700 and it was quite quiet. Over the next hour it started to fill up and got quite packed. Considering that this is a Wednesday and just an ordinary day for most people I was surprised how many were there. Just shows how much I am out of touch.
The CEO had called in for this leaving do as well and I was surprised how many senior people in the company were present.
At about 2300 most of the people that had come to say goodbye had gone, leaving about 9 hardcore drinkers plus myself, when it was decided that we should go to a club. Leaving the pub the area was still packed with people going about their lives and heading off for entertainment. We got a couple of taxis that took us a mile and cost £10. Our driver didn’t even know where were going, so much for the Knowledge. Luckily our fearless leader did and gave directions but we lost three people on the journey. Not sure how that happened as the cabs hardly even got moving but when we arrived we were down to 6. Because of the lack of phone calls I suspect that they simply headed off home. Us older types get tired easily.
The club had a slight queue but we walked straight in for some reason and our leader paid the entry fee for us at the door as we were scanned with a wand. It didn’t even go off when my Swiss Army Knife was scanned so I don’t know what use the scanning was for. At the bar drinks were about three times what they were in my local. The place was about half full when we got in and over the evening it slowly filled up with partying kids plus a few old farts like us. Even the old farts seemed to have a good time and the atmosphere was good. The place didn’t get packed to the seams but it was full.
At about 0200 a couple of us decided we had had enough and we headed off home. The streets around the clubs were quieter at this time although there were still plenty of happy people around. On the way back to the hotel we hit a beggar. He simply harassed us for 10p for a cup of tea which went up to a couple of quid when my colleague pulled out his wallet. A big mistake I thought as he pulled the wallet out but we were lucky, he accepted a quid from each of us and took off muttering about mean bastards which I though a bit rich considering he now had more cash than I had. I was totally skint.
Got to the hotel fine and went to bed where I had a good nights kip as usual. The sleep of the innocent.
All the time I was trying to reconcile our understanding of the state of the country with what I was seeing. Our group spent hundreds of pounds that night. Thousands was spent in the two places we went alone with people who did not have a care in the world. Out having fund spending what was clearly available cash. Credit cards were being swiped every few seconds.
None of them look any further than that, this is why they do not have any concerns they do not see anything outside of their very narrow bubble. They have no concept of anything going wrong to a level that will impact them. Everything will be fine. Even touching on the subject of economic issues just resulted in the comments of I just don’t see any. Look around you.
So large chunks of London are in a nice cosy bubble. These are the people making the big decisions in business and government and there is such a huge disconnect that we will never manage to convince them that there are any issues. No converts today.
In the meantime I continue to just carefully nibble at the edges and try and educate those that are not so close minded. We will never convince enough to make it a threat to us but every one we choose increases the chances of making it a better way than it would be with just the feral surviving. Those that choose not to listen are in for a big shock, or are they?