16th July

I have just returned from a certain Alban city in which I once lived. For the first year there I was happy, the second year less so. I finally packed my bags and went south once more, fleeing the weather and the boredom, with no house or job to welcome me. For someone who in general loves cities it is a curious experience to go back to a city I did not love. It reminded me of another city, much further south, that I also did not love, full of shopping malls and fascists. In both cities I could be said to have had bad luck. If I had met different people my experiences could have been different. It is the nature of the current city that we can all have deeply individual experiences of them.

In part too it is about attitude. In the Alban city yesterday I was amazed to see how much of the city I did not recognise. I was narrowly focussed at that time, through no fault of my own. Exploring was beyond me. It seems to me that I could go back to the Alban city and have a different experience. Much more so than the southern city. No matter how many great people I met there, shopping malls and fascists would still have circled me like the mountains. The Alban city I could make mine, in some future where we owned our cities. The southern city I could never make mine.