Engulfed and shaken, London was under siege; The Beast From the East reached the UK and with no mercy, taking the country and its, seemingly, unstoppable capital with it. Flurries of snow reached every nook and cranny of the city, coating the urban jungle in white like never before. Blizzards swept businessmen from left to right, icy tracks grounded trains to a halt and regular city-goers braved icy winds and many inevitable slips and falls to reach their destinations – but despite the chaotic conditions, no one could stop a Londoner from their business.
The turbulence was unbearable. I was flying into London Luton from Budapest on this particularly crazy snow day and, upon the flight’s descent, nothing could be seen from the window but white until we landed. The violent winds shook the plane left and right, up and down – the kind of turbulence that makes your heart fall out of your body and cause your hands sweat like never before. Once on the ground, air hostesses braced themselves, wrapping up in their feeble Winter uniform jackets before yanking open the plane doors only to let it a gust of snow which covered all those standing impatiently by the exits and the end of the aisles. Rapidly, passengers scurried out, becoming covered in snow instantly and running indoors as fast as possible.
Reaching London saw no let-up; fellow pedestrians slipped and slid to and fro across the pavements, some braving an open umbrella for protection, but it was a futile attempt – the crazy winds blew in an unpredictable manner, swirling around from all directions, wrapping everything and everyone in its bitterly cold clutch. Walking at 7% of one’s regular speed was compulsory and your final destination became somewhat of a guess as squinting tightly was the only way to see where you were going without getting icy flakes in your eyeball.
Oxford Street, and central London, in general, was pure chaos. It kind of felt like everyone was pretending everything was ok… but it very clearly wasn’t; London stood shaken under the reign of The Beast.
As night fell, the streets became magically lit, the snow reflecting the street lights and neon signs of the city beautifully. The streets emptied rapidly however as the winds began to pick up and blow even more so with nightfall. It became so cold that the snow blew like confetti across roads and pavements, it being lifted and swirled into the air spectacularly before falling and coating the ground.
Londoners piled into tube stations to get home and maniacs like me stayed out on the streets far too long to document the crazy events. If you don’t suffer for your art, is it even art?