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My Tuppence-worth

I spent the last six hours walking around London, mostly Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Piccadilly. Though London looks totally English, I eard ardly a single person speaking English. The street was a river of foreign languages; there were occasional eddies of English, but spoken foreignly.

The single Englishman that approached me on the street outside my hotel first asked if I was English, then told me that he’d lost his car keys and needed money to get back home. I felt at home and gave him my Metrocard.

Where are they all, the English? It’s a mystery to me. And who owns all the Bentleys and Rollses parallelling the sidewalks? In New York if you have a Bentley you keep it in the garage.

I waited a longer for the time Heathrow Express than I ever recall before. The shops look unbusy, full of idle salespeople. Are these signs of quantitative dis-easing?

The bookstores are very disappointing — Waterstone’s on Piccadilly is like a school gymnasium for a middle-school prom, large spacious empty floors with books like wallflowers on the edges, looking face out from the shelves so that just a few of them fill up as much space as possible. Hardly anyone is on the floor and no one asks them to dance. You can’t get anything out of the ordinary any more, no back list.

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