The City

I had lunch with a friend in the City today and afterwards walked back to Liverpool Street station down Threadneedle Street past the Bank of England and the building next to it where I once worked briefly and through the canyon of skyscrapers to the station. And I fell to thinking about why I love walking through that part of London. After all, I should hate it: it’s one vast temple of capitalism, and every step one takes comes with a reminder of the overweening power that comes with all that wealth. And yet there’s something about it that I can’t quite shake off. When I worked there I once went exploring and found my way onto the floor of the old Stock Exchange — a place where a young student in a sports jacket ought not to have been, and yet it was easy to bluff one’s way in. And when I was bored I could look out of my office window on the days when the Court of the Bank of England met and watch the stream of limos that deposited at least some of the grandees at the side entrance. Little could I have known that one of my student friends, Mervyn King, would one day be the Governor of that remarkable institution. Life is really just a Markov chain.