Yesterday was my 40th birthday. Juliet and I went to the Coliseum to sob through the ENO‘s gorgeous Tosca (a City in turmoil, gripped by fear – torture, love, war and betrayal). We stayed at a hotel practically next door in St Martin’s Lane. The hotel was half empty and there were plenty of empty seats at the Opera (Americans staying at home, apparently).
Our cab driver this morning made an illegal u-turn by Trafalgar Square and jumpy, armed police practically arrested him (British police don’t usually carry guns). The streets of the West End are Sunday Morning quiet (and it’s not just the congestion charging). No panic, no bulk buying, no drama at all really ? just the barely tangible signs of a City’s building anxiety. It’s this kind of tiny shift in mood that slows an economy, trips up a recovery. Watching the rolling news in our hotel room, the empty streets of Baghdad echo and amplify London’s barely noticable slow-down.
(here’s an excellent Ten things you never knew about Tosca from the University of Chicago Press, by the way).