The Unilever Series: Dominique Gonzales Foerster - TH.2058


City Sailer

By Caitlin Gaime

“78 years I’ve looked at this town.  I remember when people thought you had a bob or two, if you owned a penthouse in the City. How laughable that hill-top flat in Crystal Palace will now cost you more than the average Joe is likely to earn in a lifetime.

Look at my river view! I’m metres from where they once prosecuted criminals such as ‘Al-Qaeda terrorists’ and ‘hoodie’ murderers. Huh, that’s a phrase I’d totally forgotten, ‘hoodies’. I can’t remember when the ‘hoodie’ became unfashionable.. probably around the same time that Prince Charles started to wear one with his crown.  And look now! Now everyone has a hoodie…. in a way… the good old rain Mac - the Ug Boot of the 50’s. I suppose fashion died when the water rose, practicality rules glamour every time.

I’m listening for the hum of the river boat making its round to the poor, and the old like me, waiting to go for our weekly pilgrimage to the floating Tesco’s superstore in Penge.  It’s a long bloody journey; I’ll tell you that for nothing. Three chuffin’ hours on a boat the size of a box room. Cramming folks in like they used to on that train thingy underground, what was it called???…  Blimey I spent my 20’s and 30’s on that thing packed in like sardines, praying the next extremist wouldn’t blow us all up. Ah the good old days eh?

St Pauls is still standing though. You can’t knock the old girl down, though they’ve tried over the years. Three or four bombs hit her in the second world war, and even the earthquake of 33’ didn’t get her… Lord knows how, it took down most of the ‘Sky Flats’ on Ludgate Circus.  Nope, she’s a strong old thing, a bit like me I guess, although I’m sure she’ll last longer than I will.

Here it comes, and it looks like that little bugger Jimmy is steering the boat again. He makes quite a sport out of knocking bits of crumbling concrete off of the old buildings. The damage he does to them’s terrible, but then I guess none of the old buildings were erected to survive in this river.  Even my building isn’t like the new ones that they put on stilts.  Clever designers really .. I’m not sure why they keep rebuilding here though, I guess one day they’ll give it up as a bad job and let the old Capital go the way of the Siberian Tiger. I suppose it keeps us bums away from the rest of the few others that are thriving; thriving while we waste away along with the old buildings and streets of London below us.

It don’t matter much to me though, I recon I’ve got another 10 years or so, 15 at best, so my fears for the future are pretty comical compared to the younger lot behind me.  In my day we worried about what would happen if the world warmed up and the seas crept higher and if we were heading for another Extinction-Level Event; or so that old actor used to say, you know the one, Morgan something or other.  They made disaster movie after disaster movie and we lapped them up like a cat licks its milk, except to us it was just a movie, another bit of media feeding us a story. I must say I do long for the old television; holograms just don’t have the rich colours like the telly used to have.

I can’t wait till next weekend. I’m off to see my old pall Bob.  He lives on dry land in the west. It’s good to stand on soil occasionally just to remind yourself that the floor didn’t always sway, ever so slightly.

Oh, it’s my turn to get on! I suppose I should stop this flaming conversation that I always have with myself when I’m waiting for the ‘City Sailer’.  One of these days I’m going to invest in a cat so people don’t think I’m completely insane.. now where’s my boat pass??? It’s here somewhere… I’m always forgetting things… Ah, the Tube, that’s was it was called!! I do miss the old tin can.”

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