Monday, 17 November 2008
One City Road, The City
Last week I had a completely non-descript meal in One City Road, a new bar/brasserie place catering for the business lunch crowd just off Finsbury Square. Like the dutiful little blogger I am, I started off taking pictures and making notes of the atmosphere and service and I made sure I recorded any details that would help in the later review. Then, halfway through a bog standard Rueben sandwich and chips, I made the decision that I would not, in fact, write this meal up. Not because the experience was so dispiriting and soulless that it would depress me too much to write about it - in fact the service was rather charming and the chips were quite nice. But it was the conversation I was having with my chum over my salt beef and rye that made my mind up. We were talking about the US election.
It turns out that we had both stayed up until the early hours of the morning, flicking between the coverage on various channels, increasingly addicted to the numbers and percentages, rumours and results. The evening played out like a euphoric symphony, starting slowly with some teasing exit polls and predictable safe states, the melody building through crucial swing wins like Pennsylvania and Virginia to the final climactic announcements around 2am, accompanied by sweeping shots of cheering multitudes in Illinois and Times Square, the crashing of cymbals and a full horn section (metaphorically speaking).
I wasn't awake for the Grant Park speech, but caught much of it the next morning. Gracious and sincere, flanked by his family and before an ecstatic crowd of close to a quarter of a million, it was a genuinely world-changing moment. And to those who will say that the reality of the Obama presidency will surely struggle to live up to the expectation his soaring rhetoric has created, well you may be right. But just for now, and for as long as this moment lasts, his victory has united the entire world in the hope that things may just be on the up.
Then, a couple of days later, I went for a Rueben sandwich on City Road. It was OK. But who cares? Barack Obama is the President of the United States.