City Hall review
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City Hall is where the Mayor of London works. I'm always a bit wary about coming in here. If truth be told I'm more scared of coming in here than I am of Parliament, because there are always plenty of tourists walking around Parliament but in here, not so much. It's pretty much just you and a few security guards, plus the people who actually work here. If you want to blend in then you have to be carrying a folder full of papers or a briefcase or a laptop bag, because the kind of people who come in here actually have work to do -- they have jobs (urgh!).
The main room that you can view is the council chamber -- a cavernous room in the centre of the building (it's pretty much the only room you can view). This is where the London Assembly meets to tell the Mayor what he's doing wrong. Unfortunately there's nothing going on inside today, so all I can do is stare at the empty arena through a wall of glass. I can see a couple of cleaners hoovering the blue carpet and a bored guard sitting on a chair outside. It's 11 o'clock on a Monday morning and there's else nobody here. Do they not have meetings on a Monday morning? When I used to work in an office that was when they always held their meetings, because that was the only day of the week that everybody was actually awake.
When the building first opened you used to be able to ride the lift all the way to the roof and take a few photos from the balcony, but they've stopped all of that now. The public aren't allowed to go beyond the council chamber now, so the only other room worth visiting is the cafe downstairs. That's where I am right now... trying to blend in.
It all sounds very serious down here: I'm listening to snippets of conversation about transport infrastructure and big business finance. Their ticker-tape tongues are churning out numbers in-between little nibbles of their cheese panini. Sometimes the food doesn't even reach their mouth... it advances up as far as their chin and then their brain butts in with another quick fact. Wait your turn, sandwich! After another couple of sentences about scheduling a sit-down meeting with the boss of some building company he has another sip, a quick bite of his sandwich... how about next week? I can fit you in next week, he says. Telephone him first, though, to make sure he's done such and such and spoken to so and so. Gotta go, gotta rush. Speak to you next week, yeah? Okay yeah, bye, yeah, right, gotcha. Gotta go. Nice to meet you, he says... then he's gone.
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