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Town Mouse: Hot, angry London – the ultimate test for a Stoic

Regulars | By Tom Hodgkinson | August Issue

To retreat from the world and devote oneself to poetry and philosophy is a beautiful ideal, and Town Mouse occasionally feels its pull. For all its attractions, city life can be harrowing, exhausting, depressing. ‘Don’t push me cos I’m close to the edge,’ sang Grandmaster Flash in their 1982 hit, ‘The Message’, and recent months have driven town mice everywhere very close to losing their heads. In June, my sleep was disturbed by the whine of helicopters and, in the morning, we found out that Grenfell Tower was on fire. The tower is almost exactly halfway between my home and my office and, that morning, on Portobello Road, I stopped my bicycle and gazed with horror at the flames. Later that day, we gathered some clothes and dropped them at a collection point. The authorities were seemingly doing nothing, while fantastic relief efforts were being co-ordinated by mosques and churches...

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