I was struck by a wave of nostalgia the other day, when my mid-afternoon-lull/boredom-alleviation strategy at work saw me tuning my iPhone to BBC 6 music, only to find Damon Albarn mid-way through a performance of his The Good, The Bad, And The Queen “concept album about modern life in London”, recorded at The Roundhouse in Camden in 2006.
Ah. 2006. When I used to live just down the road. Suddenly I wasn’t sitting at my desk on a dreary winter afternoon in rainy Melbourne wrestling with a cross-browser CSS issue, I was walking along the canal with Sal to Camden on a sunny summer day. Perhaps we were off for a pint of Fruli in the beer garden at the Edinboro Castle. Who Knows.
Of course I inevitably have a rose-tinted view of our past life–it’s easy to forget the freezing winter mornings and those commutes spent wedged into someone’s smelly armpits on a packed tube train that has just decided to hang around in a tunnel for a bit for no apparent reason–but regardless I miss the people and the places that we left behind.
Unbelievably it’s almost two years since we arrived in Australia (and now well over two years since we gave up our Marylebone flat and packed our London lives into 26 shipping boxes and a couple of rucksacks), and I began wondering how Australia has changed me (apart from the extra grey hairs, but I’m pretty sure they’d have sprouted regardless).
Clearly I’m still clinging to my old life in many ways–Private Eye turns up every two weeks to keep me informed about whatever hilarious japes those Coalition boys have been getting up to, and that VPN connection I signed up for gives me access to a certain online telly streaming service–but recently I’ve found that when I need a news fix I instinctively reach for www.theage.com.au before news.bbc.co.uk.
On the other hand, even after two years of living in this sports-mad, aussie rules obsessed city I’d still rather lose sleep to watch another depressing late night Everton result play out than sit through a whole AFL game. (And I won’t be losing sleep when the current season of that particular sport is over in a couple of weeks time, if only because it means that everyone will stop talking about it…)
Then again, with limited opportunities to expose myself to new British music, my Recently Added playlist is local bands all the way (a couple of notable exceptions aside).
So I find myself somewhat conflicted–no longer the person I was when we lived in London, but not quite a proper Australian yet. Still, there’s two years to go before I get to apply for this, so there’s plenty of time for that to change, whether I like it or not.