We text the people we love

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

When bad things happen, we text the people we love. We send Facebook messages, DMs and emails. We shout ‘are you OK?’ and we stand biting our nails in the kitchen as we call those who matter to us most.

Last night at about 11 o’clock, phones started ringing all across London. Friends and family checked in and asked: are you OK? Are you safe? I love you.

When bad things happen, we text the people we love.

After the love has been exchanged and the sighs of relief sighed, and the stories swapped – “he’s locked in where?! Tell me when he’s out” – we do the next most obvious thing. We swear.



“What a cunting bastard.”

Swearing seems right to me: I’m fucking livid. This is my city and my home. I love London in a way I never thought you could love a place. If you catch me on a quiet day I’ll bore you about Crossrail, or Sadiq Khan, contactless travel or the hopper fare. But on a day like today you’ll get an amorphous, indescribable love. A howl of passionate something-or-other for a city I can’t really describe. I love London because it is so big you cannot ever know it, and yet everyone who lives here pretends we do. I love London because it welcomes people by tutting at them equally. Because despite sneering at tourists we all secretly thrill with pleasure when we sit at the front on the top deck of the number 8 bus.

I love London. From Green Street to Shepherd’s Bush, Clissold Park to Brixton. I love tiny comedy gigs in the back rooms of pubs and I love driving the DLR. Ignoring strangers at Camden Market then embracing them in The World’s End after three-too-many pints.

I love standing on London Bridge at night, and looking at the lights on the Thames.

There’ll be some people today who are frightened, and others who are grieving. There’ll be people tweeting stoicism or trying to comfort those who are afraid. Still more who have done heroic things, or are continuing to help the people who are hurt. And many many more who, like me, are sending texts and kisses and love and support to the people we love the most.

There’ll also be some wankers. And some pricks. And some cunting bastards.

As long as there are shining, good things in the world, there’ll be people who want to fuck those good things up. Just as there’ll always be people who use those people as an excuse to turn us against each other.

But in London ‘us’ is everyone. We are the best and the worst and the weirdest and the hipsterest and the twattiest and the loveliest and the oldest and youngest and everyone. We are over 8 million people. We swear, we fight, we make stoic jokes. Go to lectures on Crossrail and eat chicken burgers on the night tube and we sometimes pay six quid a pint.

And when there’s danger, we text the people we love.


The blog I’d planned for today will go up tomorrow. Comments on this one are closed. Hope you can understand.