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London Can Take It

The current state of international finance has indeed created tough times.

Whilst training to be a London Cabbie, I was under the impression that the build up to Christmas (i.e November and December), would be one of the most lucrative periods of the year.

Alas, November so far has been dire.

Although not one to discuss finance, I must say that the previous week has been disastrous, and I’ve only just about managed to scrape enough to cover my costs; the profit I’ve made being barely enough to cover the price of a fish and chip supper.

To make matters worse, my local garage increased their fuel prices today… and, whenever that occurs, I have to take a pay-cut.

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Despite living in economically harsh times, I constantly keep trying to remind myself that things go in cycles; economies dip and peak, recessions occur and ‘boom-times‘ present themselves with a fiscal bang.

As we British say; one must “keep a stiff upper lip.” Dark days may lie ahead, but a light beams at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Bearing this in mind, and after a particularly soul-destroying Friday, I was reminded of an old film from the 1940s entitled, ‘London Can Take It’; a documentary made during the height of the London Blitz, in which Nazi bombers subjected the British Capital, and other UK cities, to an endless campaign of ferocious, night-time bombing.

This was when Londoners really did have it tough; a terrifying era which makes my current financial woes seem like chicken-feed in comparison.

I’ll let the following video; made in 1940 and narrated by the American journalist, Quentin Reynolds, speak for itself.

All that I will say is that is that it makes my current problems appear trivial… and that the resilience on display, in the face of such a disgusting fascism, only serves to make me love my City with an even greater passion… (note the scene towards the very end; a cabbie in a particularly vintage taxi, providing an Air-Raid Warden with a light for his smoke!)

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6 responses

  1. Like many, this is my favorite period of London history. Whenever I feel frightened about events in the world, I think about the Londoners who lived through the Blitz. When I travel to London and get a flash of fear when getting on the Tube (remembering 7/7 and the bin bombs that were frequent when I lived in England in the 80’s), I remember how these Londoners carried on despite the fear. As you say, our troubles now seem trivial don’t they?

    1. Thanks for such a wonderful comment, Melissa. The film proved to be very important, and it had an especially strong impact on audiences in the United States. It was shown at some 15,000 cinemas across the US and Canada.

  2. An amazing film. I took it in, shaking my head in wonder at the images and at hearing about the awful loss of life and normalcy. Would I be so brave? I live in such a nice bubble. Makes me really appreciate the sacrifices made then and now.
    I will be sharing this piece of history with my family and friends.

  3. After watching the film and comparing then to now, i wonder if having an identifiable enemy makes the day-to-day a bit more manageable and psyches less fragile?

    I believe people are very much a product of the times in which they live–70 years ago there were a lot of “institutions” on which to lean and gain support … family, church, neighborhoods aren’t in place and intact today as they were in 1940. I daresay courage may be easier to come by when people aren’t facing every threatening situation, be it minor or major, while feeling isolated and uncertain.

    thanks for a great blog, and i hope your season picks up over there!

    1. That’s an interesting point. Having such an identifiable enemy would certainly help people to rally around. It should be remembered too that, although the vast majority pulled together, there were cases of people taking advantage of the wartime conditions. Many bombed houses were looted, and other crooks saw opportunities to burgle houses during air-raids, when the occupants were away in their shelters…

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