A while ago I talked about umbrella wars in London. Lots of jousting and potential for losing an eye in the daily commute.

Interestingly, though, you only see the wars when pedestrian traffic is moving in more than one direction. The other day I was walking from London Bridge train station into the City at rush hour in the rain. Massive swathes of people all heading into work. All heading the same direction.

We crossed north over London Bridge, about 8-abreast. You can’t actually move in the opposing direction, unless you want to jostle with the buses and taxis on the road. The rest of us are in a moving umbrella gridlock, sucked along at one universal speed. You can’t overtake anyone, you can’t slow down. You can only exit from the edge of the river of people. Diagonal or sideways moves, fuggedaboudit.

Everyone moves as one, a huge, multi-umbrellaed beast, a giant tank of black plastic pointiness. It’s a bit of an odd feeling actually, especially if you like to plough your own furrow, metaphorically. When you can’t do it physically, it seems to impinge the metaphorical side. Moving umbrella gridlock.