This is a long-winded and overwrought appeal for you to back Red Phone Box. There’s not long left and we’re SO close to the stretch goal.
London seems like a stuck up, grand old lady. She has her grand old buildings and Victorian lanes, the stuffy clubs and the seats of government an justice. Get a few gins down her though and she turns into what our American cousins call a ‘cougar’.
She’s a magical place, without the need for metaphor and stories. She changes people, literally. A cab driver who learns ‘the knowledge’ makes permanent changes to the physical structure of his brain, the same sort of thing that happens with habitual meditation. This is probably why you can’t change a cabby’s mind about anything else.
Fire and bombs, boom and bust, redevelopment, gentrification and the usurpation of purpose by the street make her a patchwork quilt of styles and times and the people reflect that. Past an future, near and far brought together by immigrants and punks, historians and cockneys, new media wankers tickling their MacBooks and old crime geezers sinking pints and comparing scars.
The Underground is another dimension, time and space distorted by the tunnels in the dark. Swarming with clans of tube-mice and echoing with the tunes of buskers, both well heeled and down at heel. The colour-coded map is a sigil, a mystic mark that despite bearing little or no resemblance to the tracks above ground will get you where you need to go.
A day there gives you stories for a lifetime.
The black monk, dressed in white, reading about UFOs.
The mad old bastard shouting warnings of a ‘Jerry’ bombing that hasn’t happened in sixty years.
The stinking tramp who gives you hugs, words of wisdom and headlice all at once.
The cab driver who, before he gives you directions, drops a lit cigarette, kicks it into the air and catches it in his mouth.
The singing street sweeper at 3:30am whom nobody tells to shut the fuck up.
London’s magic is in bringing things together. Ideas, people, cuisines, cultures, words, architecture, rich and poor, right and left, near and far, old and new.
No wonder that a simple, iconic Red Phone Box from old London Town could bring so many different people and ideas together – and make it work.