Does summer in the city leave you chilled out or hot under the collar? Ahead of a live literary event featuring dedicated disagreement site luvandhat.com, Robyn Wilder (Luv) and Stuart Heritage (Hat) argue the August toss.
Hooray for London in August! My birthday falls then, so for me it’s a gleefully obnoxious 31- day spree through pop-up gelaterias, Primark sales, cocktail bars and street food vans chanting ‘Buy me that!’ and ‘But it’s my birthday!’
Seriously, though, where else to spend August? The seaside? Listen, I’m from the seaside. It’s tough out there. Gangs of giant thieving seagulls rove the promenades looking for easy marks, and if you won’t give up your 99 Flake, they’ll have your ear off. Plus, no one in their right mind swims in the sea, unless they want to choke on Calippo wrappers and used sanitary towels.
You could spend August abroad, but why? Paris? The Eiffel Tower only opens for 3.5 minutes every other Tuesday. New York City? As hot as the inside of a McDonald’s apple pie. Los Angeles? You’ll be shredded by razor-sharp winds from the Mojave Desert. Madeira? Full of OAPs. Sydney? It’s winter, dummy.
But London in August is perfect. By now, we’re desensitised to all the pollen, smog and commuter BO, and the air has turned golden and treacly – interspersed with downpours. Drowsy and sunburned (or cold and wet), we lug our lazy picnics to lidos, outdoor cinemas and the Proms – then fall asleep with our elbows in coleslaw.
When we wake with wasps trying to hump our elbows, we don’t care, because winter is coming and Covent Garden’s balmy, fairylit Piazza at dusk won’t be balmy forever. So raise a Pimm’s to a good summer, when we weren’t idiotic enough to use public transport or tourist hotspots. And do your best to ignore that insufferable girl shouting ‘BUY ME THAT!’ and ‘BUT IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!’
You’re probably reading this on the tube. Or trying to. But you can’t, because there are too many people, and they’re radiating heat, and there’s no air-con, and you’re distracted by how sweaty your back is, and how the sweat is trickling into your bumcrack, and how everyone else probably has a sweaty bumcrack too, and it’s all evaporating and you’re just breathing in the evaporated bumcrack sweat of strangers.
This is London in August. Isn’t it rubbish? Soon you’ll reach your stop. But that won’t matter because the platform will be jammed with confused tourists. They’ll have backpacks. And they won’t know the ‘stand on the right’ rule. Or how Oyster cards work.
Eventually, you’ll elbow your way to the exit. But outside will be just as bad, because this is London in August. The sun’s too bright. Everywhere smells like bins. All the good pubs are crowded. The place is full of exhausted parents dragging obnoxious children around unsuitable museums. People walk everywhere too slowly, and you can’t get past, and you want to shove them into the road or set them on fire or make them explode with your mind, but you can’t because it’s too hot. Your bumcrack is now a tepid waterpark. A scary one. One where people die.
Then you’ll get home, find your flat is still too small and expensive, your wiring is still faulty, your neighbour is still a dick, and you’re still paranoid that you’ll be stabbed in your sleep by a stranger because your window’s open. London in August… It’s London, but crapper.