Mary-le-bone, Marry-le-bone, Marley-bone, Eliot’s-bone…

More than four years after my last ‘visit’, I am back. To this City about ‘whom’ TS Eliot had this to say:

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,  
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,  
I had not thought death had undone so many.  
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,  
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
[The Waste Land, by T. S. Eliot]


The two of us hardly ever encounter ourselves. But when we do it appears we always manage to not get on too well.


I am writing this from a hotel on Penywern Road, off Earl’s Court Road, where I have decided to lay my head for the night. A nice receptionist, wireless internet access, and the promise of breakfast in the morning. What more can a wanderer ask for?

I have spent a good part of my time wandering the catacombs of the London Underground, staring and being stared at, part of an endless crowd of flowing people, all of us undone by varying degrees of death and dying. We’re all Londoners of differing intensities, living, lying, loving. And in my case, leaving.

PS> Place names: Proud (arrogant even), poetic names of stations and lines and roads, defying easy pronunciation, elusive, full of alive-ness, unlike its people and its monuments … Lister, not Lee-sis-ter, Glue-ster not Glue-seh-sta…

How, for Christ’s sake do you pronounce MARYLEBONE? See this, and this, and this


London: Death and the King’s Horseman

I’m in London for the weekend, to wander around the city and to see Wole Soyinka’s play, Death and The King’s Horseman, showing all through May (till June) at the Royal National Theatre (Olivier Hall). It was my first time at the Theatre, and on my way I saw the South Bank Center which I have always read about before now.

I saw the Soyinka play yesterday (Saturday) evening. It is a powerful, poetic, tragicomic piece of drama, exploring colonialism (& The late Great Empire), racial prejudice, feminism, religion, myth, and shame. It is laden (but not overburdened) with time-bombs artfully placed to explode assumptions, misconceptions and nonchallance regarding the collision of Africa and Europe. It wears its Yorubaness very proudly and comfortably (even if many of the accents in yesterday’s show did injustice to the language).

Soyinka shifts us between laughter and contemplation for most of the play, and then moves us to tears at the end.

Tonight I was reminded why the world thinks the man is a Genius. A Genius with a Sense of Humour.

PS> I’m trying to do a more detailed review of the piece. I might post it here later.