Leaving London is similar to living in London. It’s fucking rushed: there are still a couple of drawers we haven’t looked into, and no time to clean up after ourselves.* Strangely enough, today marks ten years since my train first pulled into King’s Cross - it’s a Northern inheritance that my descent into the tube was marked by jolts of fear; based on the stories I had been told, I was certain that I would be mugged before I got across town.It's hard to summarise ten years of living in this mad place, but I’m sad to leave it. It feels almost incurably sad to leave this place. And the fact that I can’t roll the experience into a tidy sentence and pocket it - well, that just makes it more intense. Sitting on our filthy IKEA sofa yesterday** with a few friends, eating with plastic spoons because most other things had been packed or given away, it was hard not to be overwhelmed. I could not summarise what you lovely people mean to me. Somewhere along this journey, I’ve learnt how to make close friends.There are two reasons for going to New York. The first is that it fits with the longer-term plans I have with my partner. The second, which I’ve found harder to verbalise, is about a big, red reset button. Because some of my previous exits - and I've had several dashed man-with-a-van journeys across London - have been more rushed than I’d have liked. And I think it might be inevitable when living in such a place, with so many jobs, so many relationships, and so many communities, that you become like the city itself, built in layers, one civilisation upon the next, the pavements now ten feet higher, such that it becomes hard to remember where you started. I’d like a different vantage point.That is not to say I want to forget. The last time I spent in year in the US, it was 2001 and Boston. Nobody knew me and that was exhilarating as it was so easy to reinvent myself. Now, I don’t particularly want to be around strangers; what's exhilarating is not knowing myself. I don’t know whether I’ll like it in New York. Maybe I lie in Central Park and wish I was home. Or maybe I’ll get some fancy shoes, hit the town with my partner, and bring awesome queers back to bed. Maybe I’ll get onto trains, and write, write, write - the same topics but with a different perspective. Maybe I’ll finally start liking musicals. I don’t know, and I think this is what I need to get into different habits.There are a few constants. My partner, whom I’m cuddling even tighter at nights now and can pack more into a suitcase than I ever thought possible. Many friends, who I hope will never go away. And the messiness, the changing attentions - the wanting to accumulate wine making equipment or materials for a more obscure hobby, even though it will make moving harder; the wanting to get to know somebody, even though it will make moving harder. I’m pretty happy with the passage of time, even though it hurts to have a clean-out sometimes.**** We are paying for a professional cleaner.
** The professional cleaners will love the fact that our landlord gave us white fabric sofas
*** You'd all better keep in touch