Yoga World & Pesto notes in passing the sad demise of This ‘N’ That, the esoteric buying-and-selling shop on High Town Road that was Luton’s go-to for both buying and selling, and – if official police signage is anything to go by (and one has to suspect it is*) – a laundering mechanism for stolen goods. Ah well. The sign was probably the best thing about This ‘N’ That (We buy. We sell.) and mercifully, that remains.
I love Luton in the springtime, which has sprung with undoubted force this year, delivering as she has several inches of snow to ease us gently from our wintry slumbers into anticipation of a summer which we can only hope will not be too warm.
In this, one might suppose, we Lutonians are no more fortunate than the rest of the south-east, which is also enjoying a brisk springtime constitutional. It turns out, however, that we may be especially blessed.
A brief response this time to a letter in last week’s Luton on Sunday newspaper. The letters to the Editor usually have one or two gems* among them, and this week’s highlight was an intriguing missive by a Mr Ron Turvey of Stanmore Crescent, in which he boldly declares that we have too many people in Luton, and that ‘Luton is full’.
While April may be the cruellest month, I can’t say that I see much tenderness in supply this March. Mornings like today are the hardest of all. It’s cold, grey, raining: in short, an entirely typical day in the year-long omniseason that we like to call the British Weather. Those of you who know me in person may recall that I periodically bust out a theory of the British temperament – a certain stoicism, world-weariness, a sense that things will not much change (cf. the French, striking endlessly in revolt at the insults of politicians) – that I cannot say is caused by, but which seems at least to resonate with the character of our temperate, if inclement, weather. We British, we are used to being disappointed.
Is it any worse to spend such a day here in Luton?
There’s a joke you often hear when you live in Luton, which runs, ‘Well, at least Luton is easy to leave.’ It certainly is. Luton is one of the best-connected towns in the UK. My London friends are always surprised that Luton to London by train can take as little as 22 minutes. That compares very favourably with any number of outlying districts of London itself.
It’s dawned on a number of us Lutonian lifers that Luton may well be the hippest place outside of Shoreditch, quite without intending to be. Local friend Grumbly Bob (who not only works in Shoreditch but owns a number of checked shirts) put it succinctly with respect to local favourite, the Scandinavia Restaurant and Café: ‘The Scandi is hipster without even trying. In east London, people work really hard to design cafés that look exactly like the Scandi.’
Well, this doesn’t seem to be a step forward for Luton. The premises of the former Railway Tavern went up in flames late on Wednesday night (13 March 2013). Coverage at the Luton Today website here, which says that the police are treating the incident as ‘suspicious’. It is a little, isn’t it?