Everything looks different from this room with a view
PUBLISHED: 19:12 24 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:02 07 September 2010
NORTH London looks very different, when viewed from the 14th floor of the University College Hospital. The mass of buildings spreading northwards has no particular shape or rhythm. From this glassy vantage point, there is no geometric evidence of a cohere
NORTH London looks very different, when viewed from the 14th floor of the University College Hospital.
The mass of buildings spreading northwards has no particular shape or rhythm. From this glassy vantage point, there is no geometric evidence of a coherent plan for a civilised society.
It is as if some mighty being has tipped open a sackful of randomly-constructed buldings and allowed them to fall where they may - the saving grace being that all of them have landed the Right Way Up.
Along the Euston Road, rows of drab brown utilitarian flats, imported from the eastern bloc, compete for precious footage with cheerful pink and blue legoland boxes, presumably full of happy, shiny people to match their mood.
To the west, Wembley Stadium, bereft of its graceful towers, resembles nothing quite so much as a lop-sided egg basket, too carelessly discarded. London Zoo is a chicken run in the rear garden that is Regent's Park.
Primrose Hill becomes a grassy knoll, dissected by a thin grey line of concrete, while Hampstead Heath could be at the very edge of civilisation. Nothing is visible beyond the place where its woodlands dissolve towards a distant horizon.
From east to west, from the restful curves of St Pancras Station to the sharp needlepoint of the Alexandra Palace mast, the landscape is dotted with cranes, suggesting that there is still much work to be done amid this concrete mosaic. Or perhaps the cranes are there simply to correct any buildings amid the huddle that have not landed Right Way Up.
Above all this, the aeroplanes gliding silently past at every hour seem to be guided towards Heathrow by an invisible thread, instead of powering through the air from the thrust of mighty jet engines.
Even the reflection in office windows of the BT Tower looks small and insignificant.
When the tube trains and bendy buses disgorge their human cargoes and people scuttle onto the streets like ants in a colony, the idea of an omnipotent, omnipresent being seems preposterous.
But when the sun rises on a new morning and the city gleams again in the golden light of day, God seems very near.
Viewed from the 14th floor of the University College Hospital, North London looks very, very different.
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