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Permanent Tourist

A personal website by Mark Howells-Mead

Sixteen years in London; a response

Dear Konstantin,

I was born in London and spent a lot of time there during my twenties, as you know. I was still in my twenties when I moved away – far away, as you did – before I found my feet as a photographer and found my niche as an explorer of everyday places. Even if my everyday is a little different to the city life you’ve led for so long.

A few years after settling down in what I used to call “abroad”, I came across your blog and it gave me the fix of my old city again. Showing me corners and details which I’d never seen with the clarity which you penned. It was largely your humorous, interesting observations which drew me back to the city with my camera; making me turn from the old reliables of the classic tourist views and back to the details of my youth. London Leben became a regular fix, and showed me more of the city in which I was born than I could imagine.

Britain hasn’t been my home for many years now. It isn’t the same place it was, and there is so much of its character which I no longer recognize. The sad desperation of clinging to the past remains, and I despair as it intensifies. I’d like to think that the decision to cut the ties with the mainland are for good, educated intentions, but I fear that they are not. That the bigotry and the drive to have more than the Joneses next door are leading to the island cutting the safety line which is keeping it afloat. Only time will tell what will happen to the people, but the city will persevere, as it has for so many centuries.

I read your tweets and, finally, your blog posts with disappointment, as you went through the uncertainty and, finally, the dismay of the British Decision. I read now of the expectation and, probably, excitement about your upcoming move. I want to thank you for all the memories you’ve restored and all of the places you’ve shown me through your blog, and I hope that your new home in Germany will inspire you to continue writing with the passion you’ve shared online since 2004.

Good luck, and a favourable wind for your next big adventure.