Dark nights. City lights… It’s fascinating what experiments can be born in a journalist’s mind, while having her usual midnight cigarette in the London insomnia. A double-decker bus and a huge poster on its side are all that it takes – “It’s your turn to find love.”
We have all seen them, the little red and white prints, plastered all over town, from street billboards to random tube trains. And at any other time of day, they would simply blur in my view – just another ghost in the big, bad city. But this time, whether it was nicotine-fueled or inspired by the early hours, an idea ignites in my mind.
Why not? After all, it’s common wisdom that it never hurts to try. Or does it?
Most of my followers know that I am deeply in love with London (if it wasn’t clear enough from my URL). I love this city, I love the weather, I love the places, I love the atmosphere, I love the smell, I simply love it. Always have, always will. I am married to it. But recently, someone else came into my life.
The first time I ever set foot in London was also the first time I ever left my country to see the world. I was seven years old, with a wild imagination and everything made a stunning impression on my little, still-developing brain. It was my uncle’s wedding and everything seemed so magical.
My first memories were beautiful white buildings, each a mirror copy of the others, lined up around tiny little streets, flowers and trees all over them. Central London at its finest hour. The rest I remember was swans in parks, pretty clothes in shops, huge dinosaurs in museums (as a child I was fascinated with dinosaurs, but I had never seen a real one), and of course a beautiful wedding ceremony on a building’s garden rooftop.
Like a child left to run free in Wonderland, I fell in love. In that moment, I knew I wanted to live there. I wished and I hoped and I studied, I came back again and again for one or two weeks. And the childish affection grew into real love.
Twelve years later… dreams do come true. I got so much from my love - friends, education, job, a beautiful apartment next to Hyde Park. But London is a beautiful, charming monster. His eyes seduce with just one glance, his hands can give you everything his words have promised, but his claws are always sharpened and ready to strike if you let your guard down.
And then came the Other one. A comforting affair in an abusive relationship, another man stepped into my life. When London started landing his hits on me, the only thing I knew how to do was run. I ran away once already, why not do it again, take a few hours off the race? And I did. In a cold September day, I jumped on a train, alone, a phone and wallet in hand, with a ticket to a place I had never been before - Manchester.
It became my secret safe haven, I’d always go alone when things got heated in London. The moment I set foot on the platform in Manchester Piccadilly, no power in the world could erase the smile off my face. It is always sunny when I go there, contrary to its usual gloominess. And I always had one route - go to the Centre, grab a cup of coffee, and head to the beautiful City of Manchester Stadium before hopping on the train back.
I was there again last week. It was warm and sunny, the game was Manchester City against Bayern Munich, and even though we lost, it gave me new strength to keep going after my goals. And then the mind of a twenty-year-old hit me - why not move there? It made me happy, why not simply grab my bags and move permanently? Ah, the questions…
If I am there all the time, is it still going to be special? Or is it going to become a repetition of one mundane day after the other? Am I going to be alone there? Can I even leave London? But what if I’m happier in my sweet Manchester? But what if I am not? The choices of life…
It’s almost as if it resembles human relationships, isn’t it? The abusive relationship with the love of your life and the sweet affair with the man of your dreams. A tale of two cities… and a woman torn between them.
And if you actually fell for the title of this post and decided to come after me with pitch forks and flaming torches… dude, you high? If this is the first time you see my blog, let me enlighten you - the name is Lilith Valentine and the religion is Manchester City.
That being said, I am finally back in London after 24 hours of running around England, catching trains, watching games, crying tears, wrecking nerves, loving life, catching more trains and eventually deciding that life is good.
A little chant for the buses in London:
I’m living life in the bus lane,
Going up the stairs but now I am falling down.
People say the night bus is so lame,
but the tube is shut at night and the cabs - no way.
I don’t really know where I’m headed but I hope I’ll be fine,
I push the button to stop, the driver’s out of his mind,
I’m living life in the bus lane.
I’m living life in the bus lane.
Due to recent events in my life, this blog will change entirely. I will no longer post fandom related or football related articles/pictures, unless they are specific to the topic which I am writing about.
From now on, this blog will function as a venting place for my writing bursts, meaning that I will use it more as a diary and a draft book.
I will be writing about my life in London and my experiences, so if you know me personally, I would really much appreciate it if what is written in this blog remains our little, secret. And if you’re not interested in my personal life, I won’t ever be mad if you decide to unfollow me.
To everyone that has been following me - a huge thank you! This blog would be nothing without you, but it’s time for me to make some changes.
That being said, my name is Lilith Valentine, I am a writer, living in London, and you are most welcome into the dark corners of my life.
P.S. From now on, I will discuss football related topics only in my new blog - The Football Fanatic.
Let’s see why I like this guy… Oh, yes, because he’s so English, tea is practically oozing from him… And he defends football. I respect you! :D
The moment someone hears that I am a Manchester City supporter, in a matter of seconds I get the “Oh, You Silly Gloryhunter Girl" response.
And the moment these words come out of your mouth, I will politely thank you for your unasked-for opinion and never speak to you about football again.
Why is it that if you like a certain team that has been more successful in recent years, you are immediately labeled as a “gloryhunter”?
It’s true, I have supported Manchester City for a very short period, compared to others. But I started watching English football only eight years ago, and I’ve been digging through its history ever since.
I have made my choice of team, because I loved them from the very first moment I saw them, eleven players in a “nobody” team, fighting to win against all odds.
And all of this abuse is coming to us, while on the other side of town, our red-and-gold neighbors judge us, but never really look in their own backyard.
Isn’t it true that many people around the world became fans of Manchester United only because they used to hear this name all the time? Because the Reds were winning games? Winning trophies?
I’ve had so many conversations sounding like this:
"Who do you support?"
"Because they always win, of course!"
How about Chelsea? Or Barcelona? Bayern Munich? Real Madrid?
Isn’t that the very definition of “gloryhunting”? So I beg you - every great team has such fans. Every team that starts winning, has such fans. Don’t call us out like that just because of the prejudice that follows our team.
Because it doesn’t matter when you started supporting a team if you really love them.
Because it doesn’t matter if you’ve watched a thousand or ten games, if you laugh and cry with this team.
Because you don’t choose your club. The club chooses you.
P.S. No disrespect to any Manchester United fans (or any other club, for that matter). I am expressing an opinion, regarding all clubs, not just mine. Club rivalry has nothing to do with this post.
Manchester City sent me this book for free when I bought my new kit for this year… And it’s priceless. It’s autographed by Mike Summerbee himself!
And then people ask me why I love this club… Tell me, why not?
Because football is a game of respect.
Romelu Lukaku had to taste the hardship that many others had to feel before him. In the teams present, John Terry, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben, they all know what the feeling is to miss that crucial penalty and cost your team the game, the trophy, the tournament.
But as they fell on their knees, there were always players to pick them up, to tell them that everything is okay, that it does not matter. And when these players came to them, the colour of the shirt never mattered, the crests on their chests never matter. In this game we are always all for one.
And this is why football is the most beautiful sport.
If anyone says Chelsea deserved to lose this final because of 2012 or because they suck or anything like that, I will politely decline to accept their opinion… ever.
Good stand, Chelsea, good stand, tough luck. No matter if you win or lose, still, one hell of a game. Congratulations.