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.
I have a little joke (mostly with myself) that I bust out almost every time a friend of mine (and occasionally a date) does me the great honour of coming to see me in Luton. Meeting them at the train station (since I should not like to leave them unchaperoned), I say, ‘Would you like me to give you the tour of Luton? Don’t worry: it won’t take long.’
The other day I was stopped by a security guard in the Arndale and told that I am not allowed to take photos of the centre by order of the management. (I was taking a photo of the Muffin Break sign, not on its aesthetic merits, but because I was thinking I might write a review of the place in a forthcoming post. The irony of this is not lost on me.)
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?