I SPENT TWO DAYS in the UK this week. At the bottom of my little street I caught the 43 bus to the Gare du Nord in Paris and from there I caught the Eurostar. Two hours and fifteen minutes after leaving Paris I alighted in London St. Pancras station. I still marvel at how quick and convenient this journey is and of course, St. Pancras was looking as wonderful as ever.
There are two other main-line railway stations within a stones throw of St Pancras. Across the street is the ugly and claustrophobic King’s Cross station thankfully undergoing a serious makeover. Further up the Euston Road beyond the British Library is Euston station.
It was here, with some time to spare, that I decided to venture inside and record some of the atmosphere.
In Paris I feel free to record sound and to take photographs in public places without giving it a second thought. I’m sad to say that don’t have the same feeling in London. It’s said that in London you are captured by a video camera three hundred times every day and I can well believe it. Euston station is littered with video cameras at every turn. I would have liked to have taken photographs inside the station to illustrate the sound I was recording … but I didn’t. I just had the feeling that pointing a camera would have brought the wrath of God down upon me.
I completely understand the very real concerns about security and the need for vigilance in our modern world but isn’t there also a case for balance? Who actually watches these miles and miles of video footage?
I have to admit that coming back to Paris was a breath of fresh air.