Tangled yarns from London's passers-through

015 : Emma Hardy in Trafalgar Square, Trafalgar Square
Born in 1979 in Manchester. Emma Hardy currently works as a writer Why London? It scares me. I’m from The North. She digs the following London bits: there are so many theatres, there are plenty of organic cafes and great food shops, the Barbican (how can concrete be so beautiful?), there are plenty of things to do for free and you’re never more than 10 feet away from somewhere you can buy a cup of tea. She is, however, a bit miffed by the tube, the fact that there are too many people, it's very expensive, nobody ever smiles or says hello or stops to help you, and you are never more than 10 feet away from a rat (allegedly). For more info on Emma Hardy you should send an email or visit her myspace..

image: Michael Crowe

“Around us, drivers beep their horns and pedestrians trample on my clean jumpers and skirts.”

We arrive on the economy bus service from The North[1], so we aren’t actually allowed into Victoria Coach Station, and get turfed out two streets away. It’s a relief to be standing up, and our legs take another twenty minutes to fully get into their stride. Nearing Trafalgar Square, all we can think of is food. We wait at the pedestrian crossing, spotting somewhere cheap on the other side of the road.

As we cross, I feel the zip on my backpack give way. I turn and see the contents of my bag spilling out across the black and white pathway of the crossing. I yell, and you leap into action, grabbing toiletries and socks. I try to prevent any further spillage. Around us, drivers beep their horns and pedestrians trample on my clean jumpers and skirts. Nobody stops to help, except for you. We finally reach the other side of the crossing. It seems like minutes have passed, but it can only have been seconds.

We buy sandwiches and eat them sitting on the concrete steps in the sunshine in Trafalgar Square. We take photos on our mobile phones. I try to play about with perspective so it looks like you are actually standing next to Lord Nelson at the top of his column. As you pose, I worry about what life will be like for you if you move here, whether there will be someone to pick up your things when you drop them.

We practise your potential interview questions, work out how to get to the hostel that we will stay in overnight, comment on how much more expensive things are here. We kill time looking at portraits in a gallery[2] and drinking coffee to help pep you up.

I circuit the gallery for a second time while you go for your interview. I can’t help but hope you don’t get the job.

referenced works

  1. ‘The North’ is an area of England spoken of in lore and legend, and rumoured to lie somewhere beyond Cockfosters. If the few who have visited and returned intact are to be believed, it is best described as ‘grim’. etc. etc. For further hilarious discussion of England’s ever-contentious north/south divide, please visit the Myers project.

  2. Given the location, this can only be the National Portrait Gallery, Britain’s most famous repository of pictures of people’s faces and that. According to the aforementioned Myers project: ‘of the great artists, first and second divisions, London and the South-East hold some 530 pictures. The North, including Scotland, has 34’. Although this doesn’t bode well for gallery visitors in the northern reaches of our fair isle hoping to clap eyes on a classic, it does mean that bigger London galleries like this one contain some absolute crackers. Honestly, with world-class portraiture like this beauty of our dearly-beloved mega Queen, you can see why the crowds are still flocking to London’s galleries in their droves. It’s not just because they’re free to get into or anything.

location information

  • Name: Trafalgar Square
  • Address: Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London, WC2
  • Time of story: Morning
  • Latitude: 51.50844864450185
  • Longitude: -0.12900352478027344
  • Map: Google Maps



Art Space Tokyo

Interested in sponsoring Hitotoki? Contact us at sponsors@hitotoki.

Write for Us!

We’re looking for short narratives describing pivotal moments of elation, confusion, absurdity, love or grief — or anything in between — inseparably tied to a specific place in London.

submission form


Subscribe to our RSS Feed

Or receive updates by email

Addresses only used for the occasional hitotoki mailing. Will not be traded for kebabs or Special Brew.

A list of all available RSS feeds is on the about page.