The Buddha taught us that change is the only constant in life. Now there’s a man who never lived in Luton. Here in Lutopia, change teases and torments us like a chorus of pug-nosed Satyroi casting seductive backward glances from the Hertfordshire horizon.
In a way I take comfort from the way that some people readily presume that I am dead if I haven’t posted in a while. Certainly, that’s the approach taken by my mother, who recently got quite worried given that I hadn’t posted on Facebook for a couple of days, and hadn’t updated this blog in over a month. I apologise to all: I’ve been busy (rather than dead), and my conscience is all the more pricked for having missed this year’s annual High Town Festival over the weekend of 15-16 July, which I learn from the Friends of High Town was super-plus good.
The wanderer returns. Or rather: the slightly dilettante writer with a busy life returns to the blog at hand, to Luton (after a brief foray over into that there Europe) and to ‘normal life’, which is a somewhat irregular affair for me in 2013: I’m taking a ‘year out’ of sorts, to work on my PhD and train as a Rolfer, chiefly; and to explore and develop a number of my other interests, such as getting involved with the new Luton Foodbank; with the local hospice charity, Keech; and agreeing (just this morning) to run my first half-marathon. So apologies for the long service disruption to Yoga World & Pesto, and I thank the many of you who asked me where I had gone.
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.
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?
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?