The writing blog of James Christopher Sheppard. I am a 26 year old gay male from London, UK. Here I present my experiences, poems, thoughts and opinions...

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Saturday, 22 January 2011

Seduced by the City

One week of frivolous activities has left me elated and the most relaxed I have been for quite some time. I have taken some time out from my part time job and have relished in the two weeks of freedom between handing my assignments in and my new classes beginning. My usual strict regime of hitting the gym at least three times a week and only drinking one day a week has gone out of the window, but it has been much needed and left me feeling on top of the world. Two birthday parties, one at the Ice Bar in Central London and one at a house in Kingston; an evening in Surbiton’s highly priced Bosco Lounge with my friend Alix, and an uplanned evening on Thursday which saw a group of seven of us go from bar to bar and eventually ending up with us dancing like knobs at Kingston’s indie night, ‘New Slang’. This past week has been exceptional, and largely due to Wednesday evening’s events.

I was reeling in a dry-mouthed, head-achy, disorientated hung-over state when waking up at 3pm. The first thing I do when waking up is reach for my phone and check what messages have come through during my deep sleep. A text from Lucy Furlong was slowly coming into focus as my mind raced through the usual first thing questions; ‘what day is it? What did I do last night? What am I meant to be doing today? Am I late?’

It was Wednesday, I got home from Scott’s 21st birthday party at 6am after drinking an insane amount of rum and I could now read Lucy’s text; ‘Hey hon, are you still up for coming to the poetry thing tonight?’ I held my hand up, above my head, to read the message for a good minute before allowing my hand to flop back onto the bed. I considered my options; lie around the house all day feeling rancid or just get up and get going and experience something new.

I met Lucy at the Poetry Library inside the Royal Festival Hall less than two hours after waking. Thankfully the twenty minute train ride from Surbiton to Waterloo was deadly quiet. For once I decided to enjoy the silence and not listen to tracks on my Iphone. The silence was beautiful. Upon reaching the Royal Festival Hall, somewhere I had never entered, I found my way up to the fifth floor and to find Lucy engrossed in the Poetry Library. We had never seen anything like it. In this amazing building was an astonishingly varied and large collection of poetry and information about poetry events online and throughout the country. We both established that this was a place we would certainly be frequenting on upcoming free days. Upon exiting the library, we ventured out onto the balcony to witness the stunning view of 5.30pm January London. I’ve been on the London Eye and walked across the river countless times, but the image from five stories high at the Royal Festival Hall was overwhelming and beautiful.

We crossed the river and popped into Gordons Wine Bar which has been open, and remained much the same, since 1890. After carefully walking down a narrow staircase, the uneven floor is filled with as much character as is the cave-like surroundings of the walls. A stunning place which I have every intention of revisiting very soon. We then ventured across London to Liverpool Street, where our walk to our next location felt more like an exploration of an unknown part of the city. The buildings between Liverpool Street and Shoreditch were overwhelming. One minute you are walking amongst inconceivably modern structures that resemble something from Inception or The Matrix, and the next you surrounded by 100 year old buildings that have been abandoned and are crumbling slowly to their deaths. In between this stark contrast were some of the most beautiful town houses I have seen in Central London. Just walking around the area and taking in the surroundings was a fascinating experience. As Lucy and I walked, with our jaws on the floor, as we broke our necks to see how high the buildings stood, we unexpectedly came across a stunning Tron-like light up floor. Amongst these futuristic buildings was a large patch of cemented land with a grid of white and red lights zapping around it. We were both mesmerised and stunned that we knew nothing of the eye catching spectacle before.

When we arrived at Rich Mix for Jawdance, now also with Christina, I was already forgetting my hungover body pains and having an exhilarating and refreshing evening. Three hours of performance poetry, from numerous different poets from all walks of life, was mind-opening and brilliant. To witness poetry in such an exciting environment was liberating. I realised that there is so much more to writing than simply writing and hoping someone will enjoy reading it; there is a whole world of fellow writers out there to share and connect with, who you can learn from and who will listen to you. The whole night left me very excited about future possibilities and a refreshed love for London, my beautiful and diverse city.


  1. Haha! Lush :-) Wait til the next time...plenty more to see- fab night out and a fab post x

  2. I am already excited for the next adventure! Definitely a monthly thing now. ;) x